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A little fish-shaped pancake called Taiyaki

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There are so many delicious things to try when traveling to different countries.  Croissants in Paris, BBQ in Texas, Pho in Vietnam, Pizza in New York City.  Although there is never anything quite like the original, we’re lucky that through the wonder of globalization, many of these tasty cuisines are readily available to us here in New Zealand. 

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However, sometimes you stumble upon something that still isn’t very common here in New Zealand and it really wow’s you.  I encountered just such a treat in Japan in the form of a little fish-shaped pancake called Taiyaki. 

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The beauty was in the simplicity and sometimes strangeness of this little dessert.  Taiyaki is named for the “Tai” fish (Tai=Sea Bream, Yaki=Baked, hence “baked sea bream”).  The most common filling is red bean paste made from the sweetened Azuki bean.  This flavor, along with sweet potato are regularly available in main centres of Japanese cities and they are both quite nice to eat.  However, it’s the Taiyaki I found at festivals and in tourist areas that really spun my wheels!  These “special” versions of the Taiyaki were often filled with custard, chocolate or a combination of the two!

 

Not only was the actual taste amazing, but watching their creation was really interesting.  Check out this video to see Taiyaki being made:

 

Next time you’re in Japan, definitely seek out local Taiyaki stands and give it a try.  One place I can guarantee you’ll find them is the the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto!

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Happy fishing eating!

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