Taiyaki (Japanese pastry) (たい焼き)
Taiyaki is a Japanese sweet made by baking batter in sea bream shaped molds, and it is mainly manufactured, sold and eaten in Japan.
To make taiyaki, first the batter made of flour, sugar, and soda is poured into sea bream shaped molds and then azuki bean paste added before the two sides of the mold are joined together. In recent years, taiyaki filled with cream instead of azuki bean paste are gaining popularity.
Taiyaki is a food which was derived from imagawayaki. Various animal shaped imagawa-yaki cakes were created and sea bream shaped cakes became particularly popular because sea bream were considered lucky fish and was too expensive for ordinary people.
There are two types of taiyaki pans; single molds (called natural or single molds) and multiple molds (called artificial molds) in a pan. Since the using single molds is time consuming, fewer people use these although some professionals prefer them. Cakes cooked in natural and artificial molds taste different because the method of baking is different and also the temperature used to bake them is different.
There was once controversy among literary personalities over whether the bean paste should be filled all the way to the tail, or even whether bean paste should be used at all. The novelist Tsuruo ANDO, commented in the Yomiuri Newspaper that 'taiyaki tastes much better if the tail is filled with bean paste' and this attracted numerous responses.
As the tail was just a part people held with their fingers when eating and was thrown away at the end, formerly the tail did not contain filling.'
The tail should not be filled with bean paste because the mouth needs to be refreshed with the tail after eating sweet bean paste.'
The tail should be filled with bean paste because I feel as if I am missing out if there is none in the tail.'
If the tail is filled with bean paste it seems like good value.'
These are some of the opinions.
Furthermore, arguments developed about which was the orthodox way to start eating taiyaki, from the head or the tail.
Also, 'a book of fish prints' was published that introduces fish prints of taiyaki baked using a single mold pan (as a reference book).
Naniwaya Sohonten' in Azabu Juban (established in 1909), 'Yanagiya' in Ningyomachi (established in 1916), and 'Wakaba' in Yotsuya (established in 1953) are called 'the big three of Taiyaki' in Tokyo. The shop 'Naniwaya Sohonten' is thought to be a model for the song "Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun."
The sea bream of 'Saga no Taiyaki' which are made and sold by 'Nagatome Confectionery' in Saka, Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture have a curved tail and their whole shape is round just like Imagawa-yaki.
Some taiyaki are square.
Aqua-Marine Fukushima,' an aquarium in Fukushima Prefecture that is famous for the studies of coelacanth, sells coelacanth-shaped taiyaki.
This produce was introduced to introduced at Kannon Station on the Choshi Dentetsu Railway to increase revenues at the time the Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun song was very popular. The coelacanth-shaped taiyaki was a top-seller.
Most people think of taiyaki as a hot food, but 'Otsukaya' in Akita City sells 'cold taiyaki' which is made by cooling down hot taiyaki and then filling it.
The surface color of regular taiyaki is due to the effect of sugar contained in the batter (the Maillard reaction), although white taiyaki which are whitened using starch (tapioca etc.) are also available.