Taiyaki: Japan’s Wonderful Waffle

No matter where you go in Japan, it’s hard to ignore the smell of freshly made Taiyaki (たい焼き). You can find taiyaki vendors in every city at almost every train station or shopping mall in Japan, just let your nose do the work.

Taiyaki from Japan
Her favorite filling is custard!

What is Taiyaki?

There are a couple of stories concerning its origins, but what is commonly believed is that taiyaki has been eaten by the Japanese for more than 100 years. The word “tai” is the name of a Japanese fish called seabream and “yaki” means fried.

These wonderfully light, crispy waffle style pancakes are made with wheat flour, a much thinner batter than most waffle mixes (but we’ve heard you can also make them with regular pancake batter as well). The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold on each side so the outer part cooks.

A great taiyaki has a crisp shell that has been baked to a golden brown color.

Taiyaki from Japan
Croissant Taiyaki shop in the Aeon Mall, Narita Airport
Taiyaki from Japan
So many flavors Taiyaki to choose from!

A traditional taiyaki is filled with sweet azuki or anko beans but now you can find them filled with almost anything from custard, ube (sweet potato), chocolate, and even cream.

Today, we came upon a new kind, a croissant taiyaki…and it was delicious! The kids loved the chocolate one most with nutella filling.

Taiyaki in Japan
Chocolate croissant filled with nutella 🙂

While in Odaiba we also saw taiyaki in the shape of Gundam, which was pretty cool!

Taiyaki in Japan
Gundam style!

And while we were in Sapporo waiting at the Chitose Airport, there was a small shop with Doraman shaped ones too.

Taiyaki in Japan
Doramon taiyaki was sold at a small shop @ Chitose Airport

There’s so many styles and flavors you’ll find while visiting Japan. Make sure you seek them out and let us know which one is your favorite!


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