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|Place of origin||Japan|
|Region or state||Japanese-speaking areas|
|Main ingredients||Batter, sweetened azuki beans|
Taiyaki (鯛焼き, lit. 'baked sea bream') is a Japanese fish-shaped cake, commonly sold as street food. It imitates the shape of tai (鯛 red seabream), which it is named after. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato. Some shops even sell taiyaki with okonomiyaki, gyoza filling, or a sausage inside. Smaller, differently shaped versions called kingyoyaki (金魚焼き, lit. 'baked goldfish') are also available and often sold in bags of five, ten, or more.
Taiyaki are similar to imagawayaki, which are thick round cakes also filled with sweet azuki bean paste or custard.
Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold for each side. The filling is then put on one side and the mold is closed. It is then cooked on both sides until golden brown.
Seijirō Kobe, founder of the store Naniwaya Sōhonten (浪花家総本店), was having trouble selling his imagawayaki, so he decided to bake the cakes into fish shapes resembling tai, or red seabream. Tai are considered a symbol of luck and fortune in Japan, and were an expensive fish only affordable by the higher classes or on special occasions. Masamori Kobe, the fourth owner of the store, stated that Seijirō wanted to give the ordinary people a taste of the expensive fish at low prices.
Since its creation, taiyaki has evolved into many variations, with different ingredients being used for filling and batter, as well as variations in shapes and sizes.
During the postwar period, taiyaki spread to other Asian countries, as well as to the United States.
Cut taiyaki, showing the azuki bean filling
Taiyaki with sweet potato filling
Square taiyaki with uncut edges, being sold in Ueno
Round taiyaki in the form of coiled fishes, being sold in Gunma
Train-shaped taiyaki, being sold outside Narimasu Station
Taiyaki used as an ice cream holder, being sold in Taipei
- Bungeo-ppang, a similar Korean snack
- "Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun", a song about taiyaki
- Wagashi, Japanese confectionary