Translated by MATCHA
Taiyaki, Fish-Shaped Japanese Sweets
Taiyaki is a Japanese sweet shaped like tai (red snapper). If you haven't heard of what makes them so good, come have a look in here!
Written by Madoka Nakamura
Have you heard of "Taiyaki"? It is a Japanese snack in the shape of a fish.
For foreign visitors who have no idea what a taiyaki is; and for Japanese who would like to know some surprising and random facts about taiyaki, this article is for you.
Taiyaki, a Loved Japanese Sweet of More Than 100 Years
Generally, the dough of taiyaka is made from wheat flour while the paste is crushed boiled red bean mixed with sugar. On a hot iron plate, the dough is first added and then the paste. For some reasons (that we will explain later), Japanese have a habit of using the shape of a fish as the mould; since that fish is called "tai", we call this sweet "tai-yaki".
There are a couple of stories concerning its origins; but what is commonly believed is that Taiyaki has been eaten by Japanese for more than 100 years.
Since 2000, many versions of Taiyaki come out. Besides red bean, the paste comes in other favors as well: custard cream, chocolate, caramel cream and cheese cream. The word "taiyaki" becomes more widely-spread.
Why is Taiyaki in the Shape of a Tai?
Since the ancient time, Japanese has had the habit of eating Tai for celebrations and praying for luck.
This has to do with the sound of the Japanese words. When Japanese celebrate, they like to say the Japanese phrase "medetai", which sounds like "tai".
This is the reason why many people eat tai and tai-related cuisine during celebration times. It maybe from this tradition that "taiyaki" has become so loved as a snack.
Let's Eat Taiyaki
Taiyaki can be brought at supermarket and shops that are specialized in Taiyaki. It costs around 100-300 yen each. The size depends on where you buy it, but it is usually around 15cm, just the fitting size to be held by your hands.
A speciality shop of taiyaki will put a taiyaki in a bag shown by this picture.
The paste inside is red bean. The crispiness of the dough, the sweetness of the red-bean - they balance each other perfectly.
Have a Japanese Snack When You Stroll Around the Street
Besides Taiyaki, there are many other Japanese snacks with red-bean paste such as Imagawayaki and Oyaki.
And like we have just introduced, even among taiyaki, there are many varieties. If you encounter one on the street, please have a try - the taste that is loved by Japanese since long ago.
"Kagurazaka Kurikoan" is a famous cafe for taiyaki. Here, you can taste the streaming hot taiyaki that have just been made. If you order a drink-set, you can enjoy the taiyaki with tea in a Japanese teapot. If it is summer, you can also enjoy cold sweet like shaved ice. So please visit this place regardless of the season.
Address：1F PORTA Kagurazaka, Kagurazaka 2-6-1 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Credit Card：Not accepted
Languages：Japanese, Simple English
Access：1-min walk from B3 exit of station "Iidabashi" of Tokyo Metro; 3-min walk from the west exit of station "Iidabashi" of JR
Official Homepage：Kagurazaka Kurikoan (Japanese only)