Taiyaki

Delicious Imagawa-yaki, Ningyo-yaki, and Taiyaki

Japan is known for its kawaii culture. Kawaii means cute or adorable in Japanese, and the phenomenon has influenced Japanese entertainment, pop culture, toys, clothing, and of course, even food!Imagawa-yaki

Imagawa-yaki

Imagawa-yaki (今川焼き) is a popular Japanese dessert that is a staple at Japanese festivals. It is made with a batter like pancake or waffle batter and typically with sweet azuki (red bean paste) filling. Other types of filling such as vanilla custard, chocolate, and even savory fillings are increasingly popular. The batter is placed in an iron mold followed by the filling then again topped with batter.

Imagawa-yaki was first sold at a shop near Imagawa Bridge in Tokyo in 1772, hence its name. It is a disk-shaped sweet snack usually 3 centimeters thick. Imagawa-yaki is also know by other names such as oban-yaki, kaiten-yaki, nijū-yaki, and koban-yaki.

Ningyo Yaki

Ningyo-yaki and taiyaki are also made from the same ingredients as Imagawa-yaki but are shaped differently. Taiyaki, which means “baked sea bream,” is shaped like a fish and is considered to bring good luck in Japan.

Ningyo-yaki

Ningyo-yaki, named after the Nihonbashi-ningyocho area of Chuo City, are favorite Tokyo souvenirs. They are usually in the traditional shape of the Asakusa Kaminarimon gate, the shichifukujin  (seven gods of good luck) or a miniature edible version of a giant chochin (lantern).  Ningyo-yaki in the shapes of popular animated TV shows and other kawaii characters such as Pokemon, Hello Kitty, and Doraemon are also a favorite among many people with a sweet tooth.

Sampling delicious, cute snacks such as ningyo-yaki  is a great way to get full while  experiencing the catchy kawaii culture when visiting Japan.