Experiences - Asia

Must-eat in Japan – Taiyaki

How do you like a fish shaped waffle, filled with sweet red bean paste. Sounds interesting right?

We are talking about Taiyaki, a fish shaped sweet snack which is a famous Japanese street food. It tastes best when it is freshly made and served warm. So you might wonder why the snack is fish shaped?

Taiyaki

Image Courtesy: Eliza Adam used under the Creative Commons Licence

The original Taiyaki was made in an iron mold which was round and was used for making Imagawayaki, which has the same filling as Taiyaki.

In the Meiji-era (1868 – 1912) the Tai (sea bream), a variety of fish was considered very expensive and was consumed only during special occasions or celebrations. It is a common belief that they’re often eaten to bring luck. A few sweet shops started the trend by selling the Taiyaki in the sea bream shape and since then it became a huge hit and. Tai means ‘sea bream’ and yaki means ‘grilled/baked’, and that’s how the Taiyaki originated.

 

Japan-Taiyaki

Image Courtesy: James used under the Creative Commons Licence

Taiyaki is a very simple snack and comes in various fillings like Nutella, chocolate, cheese, custard and sweet potatoes apart from the basic sweet red bean paste. A flour based waffle or pancake batter mix makes the outer crust of the sweet. The batter is usually thinner than waffle/ pancake mixes. A layer of batter is poured on the mold on each side along with the filling and grilled until it turns brown and crisp on both the sides.

 

Japan Taiyaki

Image Courtesy: Hiroshi Yoshinaga used under the Creative Commons Licence

The outer part of Taiyaki is also made with tapioca flour in the same way as the conventional Taiyaki is made. This however has a different texture and is more chewy from the original.

Whether you start with the head or tail, just indulge yourself in this warm and delightful snack and may the luck follow you.

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