Translated by GonzalezLaura
Meguro's Hiiragi: Cooking up Some Crispy, Delectable Taiyaki
Written by yohei matsui
Taiyaki: a fish shaped Japanese sweet that nearly all Japanese love. Find out where to get your hands on some specialty taiyaki in Tokyo.
If there's one thing that overseas tourist have high expectations of when coming to Japan, it's food.
Unfortunately though, real-deal Japanese food and sweets are usually quite expensive. In light of this, here we'll tell you about Taiyaki, a Japanese sweet that is inexpensive, and relatively easy to find.
See Also: Taiyaki, Fish-Shaped Japanese Sweets
Taiyaki is sold pretty much everywhere in Japan. But, since you've come all the way here, we'll tell you about a restaurant that serves up some truly tasty taiyaki.
If this is your first time trying taiyaki in Japan, we recommend Meguro Hiiragi, a taiyaki shop in Tokyo.
Your local, friendly taiyaki shop
Meguro Hiiragi is located approximately a 3-minute walk from Gakugei Daigaku Station (Tokyu Toyoko Line).
The sign with "taiyaki" (たいやき) written on it acts as this store's landmark.
There's a bench set up outside of the store, so you you can sit here and stuff your cheeks full of this Japanese sweet there, if you'd like.
The day we stopped by the store, we saw a fair amount of regulars purchasing the taiyaki. Families, students stopping by the on their way home from school; we caught view of quite a couple of locals during our time there. It seems like this store is really loved by it's local patrons.
How they get that perfectly crispy outside
This time around, we got special permission to go behind the grills, and see how the taiyaki are made.
In this store, they boast the use of their anko, which has just the right balance of delicateness, and sweetness. Anko is a sweet red bean paste made by adding sugar to boiling azuki (sweet red beans). The formula for the azuki that the store uses, was derived from 4 to 5 years of compiled efforts.
Extreme care also went into the creation of the batter. The batter is made from the shop's own original blend of flours, and cooked for 30 minutes on the taiyaki grills, to achieve the perfect crispy crust.
The sweet smell of the baking pastry wafts about the air around the shop. We can't wait to dig into the taiyaki.
Having a go at their famous taiyaki, and some seasonal menu items
Let's dig into the freshly cooked taiyaki.
After splitting the taiyaki in half, you can see the pasty filled to the brim with anko. Taking a bite, you can taste the flavor of the azuki, and the precisely sweetened anko covers all corners of your mouth.
Next, we try out the chilled dorayaki (two pancakes with anko in the middle), from the summer seasonal menu.
They had two types of dorayaki: matcha, and cinnamon.
This sweet has anko as well as whipped cream with either matcha, or cinnamon powder mixed into the cream; all this wrapped by a chilled pancake. The soft, fluffy pancakes taste as though the batter was mixed specifically for the chilled dorayaki.
Hiyashi are sold until December 19th. From December 20th, they will be selling "ohagi", which is a Japanese rice ball covered with sweet bean paste, or sesame and salt. The ohagi is also absolutely worth checking out. You can find more information at the shop's official website: Meguro Hiiragi.
Before leaving, we got to talk with the owner, Mr. Nakano.
"For Japanese people, real Japanese sweets are something that's rich, and a little bit of a splurge item. On the other hand, taiyaki is something that's more everyday, and local, so I'd really love for foreign travelers to be able to try it, without it having to treat it like it's a big deal."
This might be the opposite of "everyday" for many travelers that visit Japan. For Japanese people though, it truly is close to home, and has been loved from way back in the day.
Next time you come to Japan, how about trying some of Japan's taiyaki at Meguro Hiiragi?
Address: 3-18-3 Takaban, Meguro-ko, Tokyo-to
Hours: Weekdays 11:00-20:00
Wi-Fi availability: N/A
Credit cards accepted: N/A
Languages spoken: Japanese
Multi-lingual Menu Availability: N/A
Nearest station: Gakugei Daigaku Station Tokyo Toyoko Line
Access: 3-minute walk from the Gakugei Daigaku West Exit
Price range: 150~400円
Religious considerations: N/A
Official website: Meguro Hiiragi
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