Japan may be known for its beautiful pastries and cakes but, oddly enough, one of its best-known traditional treats is shaped like a sea bream. Taiyaki is a hot waffle-like pastry stuffed with sweet azuki bean paste, chocolate, cream or sometimes cheese.
The shape stuck when it was introduced to the humble populace who couldn’t afford the actual fancy-schmancy tai fish a century ago.
The taiyaki by Aji-saki in the basement of Ikebukuro’s Seibu department store commands a line that snakes around corners from morning ’til night, and it gets longer when they bring out the sweet-potato-stuffed taiyaki after 5 p.m.
Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store, 1-28-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima 171-8569 Tokyo Prefecture;