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Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake originating from Japan but is widely popular in places like Korea (they call it bungeo-ppang). As one of the most popular street desserts, Taiyaki is a fish-shaped pancake filled with red bean paste with bits of broken beans and bean husk. The filling can be substituted by chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato. The dessert is cooked using an appliance like a waffle iron, but with a fish-shaped mold.
Outside a Korean supermarket, a middle-aged man was making taiyaki with a large waffle maker, a sweet, alluring aroma wafting in the chilly winter air. We have been shopping from this store for a long time, but this was the first time that I paused and asked my dad to buy one for me–maybe it’s the warm smell or maybe it’s the thought of exotic foods resolution that ran through my mind.
When the palm-sized taiyaki wrapped in a thin paper bag was handed to me, it felt like I was getting an adorable hand warmer which sent a stroke of warmth to my cold fingers. I took my first bite from the top where the crispy outer waffle cracked open. Warm filling of red bean paste oozed into my mouth. The soft custard between the crunchy exterior and the filling was smooth and chewy like mochi. Each bit was satisfying and left me craving for more. I was almost sure that I would buy it again when we shop there next time.
If you are a fan of waffles, red beans, or fish, I definitely recommend you to give this palatable dessert a try!