Taiyaki is a traditional Japanese sweet that has been enjoyed for over 100 years. This unique pastry is made from a soft, cake-like batter that is molded into the shape of a fish and filled with a variety of sweet fillings, such as red bean paste, chocolate, or custard. The name "taiyaki" literally translates to "baked sea bream" in Japanese, which is why the pastry is shaped like a fish.
Taiyaki has a rich history that dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan, when street vendors first started selling this delicious snack food. Over the years, taiyaki has become a staple of Japanese culture and is now a staple at festivals, street markets, and specialized taiyaki shops all across Japan.
One interesting tidbit about taiyaki is that, in Japan, it is often associated with good fortune and prosperity. This is because the word "tai" in "taiyaki" is the same word used for the red sea bream, which is considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Japanese culture.
In addition to traditional fillings like red bean paste and chocolate, modern variations of taiyaki often include unique and innovative fillings such as cheese, sweet potato, and even ice cream. This versatility and flexibility in fillings has helped taiyaki to remain popular and relevant, even in today's fast-paced and ever-changing world.
Taiyaki is not only popular in Japan, but it has also gained a following around the world. From Asia to Europe and the Americas, taiyaki has become a beloved treat enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether it's enjoyed as a sweet snack or as part of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, taiyaki is a pastry that continues to bring joy and happiness to people all over the world.
About the author:
Ailsa van Eeghen
Ailsa has been living in Japan since 2015 all the while enjoying the rich beauty of Kagoshima prefecture. She finds the most joy in exploring little villages, driving around the countryside and exploring the lesser known parts of Japan. Keenly interested in Japan’s regional diversity, you can often find her at michi-no-eki admiring all the local produce. You can find more of her travels and deep dives into Japanese culture on her Instagram @daysofailsa where she writes about her life in Japan.