There are may Japanese traditional cakes making their way abroad these days.
But have ever heard of “Taiyaki”?
Frst of all, do not confuse it “Takoyaki”!
Taiyaki (たい焼き, , literally “baked seabream”) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans.
Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, or cheese. Some shops even sell taiyaki with okonomiyaki, gyoza filling, or a sausage inside.
Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold for each side. The filling is then put on one side and the mold is closed. It is then cooked on both sides until golden brown.
Taiyaki was first baked by a sweet shop Naniwaya in Azabu, Tokyo in 1909, and now can be found all over Japan, especially at food courts of supermarkets and Japanese festivals (祭, matsuri) and other Asian countries (for example Korea, but they call it buunga baang).
They are similar to imagawayaki (今川焼き?, which are thick round cakes also filled with sweet azuki bean paste or custard.
They come in different shapes according to the occasion or/and area:
In Fukushima Prefecture where the Aquamarine Fukushima is located they sell taiyaki made from a mold reminscent of the famed coelacanth!
In some areas they make a taiyaki in the shape of a carp floater to commemorate Boys Day on May 5th!
As for Shizuoka Prefecture, people in Ieyama along the Oigawa Railway make a taiyaki with matcha tea!