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  • Andrea Juarez

What you need to know about the 'cute fish cone', taiyaki

Photo by Kelly Visel on Unsplash

It’s not strange to see these lovely fishes as ice cream cones on Instagram, but apart from tasting good and making your feed look cute, there’s more story behind this tasty treat.

The fish cone's real name is Taiyaki (鯛焼き), which means baked sea bream.

Taiyakis are made using pancake or waffle batter, which is poured into the fish-shaped mould for each side. Then, a filling is put on one side and the mould is closed. They’re later cooked on both sides until they're golden brown.

Originally, taiyakis were filled with red bean paste but nowadays they can be filled with chocolate, cheese, sweet potato, and are eaten with the hands. As you’re aware, they’re also used as ice cream cones.


Taiyaki’s origin runs back to the 1909s in the Naniwaya Souhonten shop in the Azabu-Juban district of Minato Ward, Tokyo, according to the Japan Times.

Tai is the Japanese word for sea bream, and it is believed that its fish shape wanted to make consumers happy and make them feel like they were eating luxuriously because sea bream was quite expensive, according to Asahi Imports.

The Japan Times reports that Taiyakis weren’t that popular until 1976 when the song Oyoge Taiyaki-Kun (“Swim! Taiyaki”, written by Hiroo Takada and sung by Masato Shimon) was released and people of all ages loved it.

The song narrates the story of a taiyaki that escapes from the batter and returns to the ocean after an argument with the chef. Although the red bean paste in his tummy was heavy, Taiyaki-Kun was elated at being able to swim again in the wild and was greeted by pink coral.

Then, Taiyaki-Kun was harassed by sharks but eventually adjusted to his new environment, taking refuge in a shipwreck. Sadly, at the end of the song, he is caught by a fisherman and eaten alive.

Taiyaki Types

There are several types of fish cones. In fact, there’s a smaller version of Taiyaki which is famous in Korea: bungeo-ppang.

Bung’eo (붕어) means Carassius (another type of fish) and ppang (빵) means bread, according to Backpacker Lee.

Bungeoppang is also filled with red bean paste and was introduced to Korea by the Japanese in the 1930s.

Taiyaki in Calgary

Taiyakis have conquered the streets of New York, Madrid, Mexico City, and Cowtown is not the exception. If you’re craving taiyaki with ice cream, Uzu Taiyaki in Chinatown is the place to go.

Korean restaurant Sso Yummy Factory (also located in Chinatown) and Ariran Oriental Food Market serve bungeo-ppangs filled with either red bean paste or custard cream.

Taiyaki and Buggeo-pang are desserts known for being better enjoyed during the wintertime. However, ice cream changed the game and they’re now desserts you can enjoy any time, any season.


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