May’n has become someone like a connoisseur of good food, having tried the many delicacies around Asia. Curiosity overcame our sense and casually, we asked May’n for recommendations of delicious food in Japan.
We got a list of items from her and here is one of them.
“This is where I first learned to love Taiyaki. They spend 30 minutes lovingly making the taiyaki till it’s cripsy and delicious”
Taiyaki Hiiragi （ひいらぎ)?
Taiyaki literally means “baked sea bream”, which is served in the form of a cake filled with red bean paste. This snack has been a favourite among the Japanese for over 100 years. In the past, the Japanese would eat sea bream whenever they have a celebration or when praying for luck. However, sea bream was considered an expensive delicacy, thus Taiyaki was made to replace sea bream and made with simple affordable ingredients. The word “Tai” in Taiyaki also brings a saying of Auspicious-ness “Medetai”.
Right now, you can find Taiyaki in many different variations and flavours. Many of these include green tea, custard cream and even festive limited flavours like sakura.
Based on her recommendation, WOW Japan visited Taiyaki Hiiragi which is located in Ebisu, Tokyo to find out why this was on her list of highly recommended eats. As we stepped out of Ebisu station on the JR Yamanote line, we were surprised that it was easily accessible. The store was just right across the road! Arriving in mid-noon, there was already a long queue but we have to fight on to know more.
Time to enjoy
Having tried many types of Taiyaki in Japan, we wonder how this one would taste differently from the rest. Our first impression of the store was the impressive long queue, there were tourists from many different countries lugging their heavy baggages and even housewives carrying their children. The smell that comes from this store was beautiful, as if a bakery with a hint of sweetness coming from red beans.
When we finally purchased the Taiyaki, wouldn’t it be a waste if we do not eat them right away?
We opened our treasure chest to find these fishes lined up nicely, as if ready to be served. The Taiyaki has a nice crisp skin, definitely toasted for at least 30 minutes. We open it up to see it packed with red bean paste, with just a little squeeze you can see all the paste flowing out.
Taking a bite into this amazing snack, I was surprised that the skin was actually similar to fried mochi rather than pastry. The sticky-ness of both the mochi skin and red bean paste were extremely compatible with each other. The Taiyaki just gets more satisfying and delicious with each bite.
The red beans were also pretty firm, definitely not as mushy as you imagined a paste would be. If you are looking for a snack not too sweet, this is definitely the snack to go for!
There is no proper way to eat a Taiyaki, but we can give you some advice to shorten up your queue.
You can definitely queue before opening hours, where there are definitely less people. You can also work your way down to this place after lunch hours (Maybe around 2-3pm?) to see less people in the queue. However, you have to take note that these Taiyaki take approximately 30 minutes to make, even with the abundance of pans to work with.
The shop does allow ordering a large amount of Taiyaki at once, but it is actually easier to order 1-2 as they can serve you right away. Maybe you can consider bringing your friends/families with you to make it easier? If you order more than 2 at once, you will have to queue up again to wait for your collection (Which definitely takes more time).
The damage is not big considering that each Taiyaki is only 150 yen. You can also try their special servings of Taiyaki on ice cream and red bean milk shake (350~450yen).
Hiiragi’s Taiyaki has been an adventure for my palate. The Taiyaki is one-of-its-kind and definitely a new experience. Being different from many fluffy skinned Taiyaki, the amount of crisp that one bite would give you is irresitible. If you make your way down to Tokyo, I would say that this is a must-try delicacy.
Address: 150-0013 Ebisu 1-4-1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Ebisu Urban House
Opening Hours: 11AM-8PM (Closes early when sold-out)
Holiday: Every Mondays
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