Translated by MATCHA
Taiyaki, Fish-Shaped Japanese Sweets
Written by Madoka Nakamura
Taiyaki are fish-shaped traditional sweets that have been loved for many generations in Japan. Read on to learn more about taiyaki, what they are made of, and where you can taste some of the best taiyaki in Tokyo.
Have you ever heard of "taiyaki"? These are fish-shaped traditional sweet snacks. Read on to learn more about taiyaki and what they are made of, as well as where to get some of the best taiyaki in Tokyo.
Taiyaki - A Snack Boasting a Hundred-Year Tradition
Generally, the dough of taiyaki is made from wheat flour. The filling is a paste made of crushed boiled red beans mixed with sugar.
A layer of dough is first added on a hot iron plate, then the paste is inserted. The mold is shaped like a sea bream (called "tai" in Japanese). This is why the snack is called tai-yaki.
There are a couple of stories about the origins of this snack. It is commonly believed that taiyaki have been enjoyed in Japan for more than one hundred years.
Many new versions of taiyaki came out after 2000. Besides red bean, the filling comes in other flavors as well such as custard cream, chocolate, caramel cream, and cheese cream.
Why Is a Taiyaki Shaped Like a Sea Bream?
Since ancient times, there is a custom in Japan to eat tai (sea bream) on auspicious occasions. The Japanese word for "congratulations" or "auspicious" is "medetai," and the sea bream (tai) is loved because its name inspires auspicious thoughts.
This tradition is probably one of the reasons why taiyaki are such a popular snack in Japan.
Let's Eat Taiyaki!
Taiyaki can be bought at specialized shops. A taiyaki costs about 150 yen to 300 yen. The size depends on the shop but it has usually around 15 cm in length, just the fitting size to be held with two hands.
Every specialty shop offers its taiyaki wrapped in original paper bags.
The red bean filling is delicious! The crispiness of the dough and the sweetness of the red-bean filling balance each other perfectly.
Enjoy a Taiyaki Snack while Exploring the Streets
Imagawayaki are similar to taiyaki but they are not fish-shaped. They are also worth trying though so learn more about them by reading the article below.
Even among taiyaki, there are several varieties. If you encounter a taiyaki shop on the street, please give it a try. It's a taste that has been loved by the Japanese for a long time.
Kagurazaka Kurikoan is a famous taiyaki cafe located in the Kagurazaka area of Tokyo. Here, you can taste piping hot taiyaki right from the oven. If you order a drink-set, you can enjoy the taiyaki with tea.
In the summer, the shop also offers shave ice desserts. Kurikoan is worth visiting regardless of the season. Taiyaki are a snack that shouldn't be missed!
Other famous taiyaki shops in Tokyo can be found in Asagaya, Azabu-Juban, and Asakusa. Read more about them by clicking the information below.