Japanese Street Vendors and Their Spongy Fish Pancakes
Soft with a slightly crunchy exterior, and stuffed with a sweet filling, these fish-shaped cakes called “taiyaki” are a traditional and popular street vendor snack in Japan.
Similar to a waffle or pancake, the adorable and delectable fishy treats are made in special iron molds. In the video above, a taiyaki baker expertly pours the batter, pipes out a sweet bean paste filling (but it can be anything from Nutella to cheese), and closes the mold. Out plops a row of fresh, hot golden taiyaki. The puffy, spongy texture will definitely make your mouth water.
Taiyaki means baked sea bream, a kind of fish that used to be an expensive delicacy only eaten on special occasions in the late 1800s to the early 1900s in Japan. People aren’t sure exactly when and who started making the fish-shaped pastries, but the original circular molds were changed into to look like the sea bream—emanating a bit of that luxury of the precious fish.
Most street vendors stick to the traditional sea bream fish shape, however more recently, tayaki in the form of the flopping fish Pokémon Magikarp have been popping up for a limited time.
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