Taiyaki restaurant baking their signature dish. Photo Credit: Wikepidea Commons.
By Jessica Lau
Move over fried ice cream, there is a new dessert in town. On one of the coldest days of the season, dressed in thick warm jackets, long scarves and gloves, a long line of people began to form. They were eagerly waiting to go inside Taiyaki NYC to enjoy their fish-shaped-cone ice cream.
The Chinatown dessert shop has the logo of a fish and inside the store has the slogan “there’s a new fish in town.” Their signature dish is made with a rich waffle or pancake batter and filled with a sweet adzuki red bean paste. Taiyaki is served warm in Japan in the winter markets.
The name, taiyaki, translates as “baked sea bream” a greenish-bronze deep-bodied freshwater fish. During the Edo Period “Tai” which is sea bream was presented to the Shogun who was ruling at that time and was considered a highly prized dish of seafood. Sea bream also translates to “medetai,” meaning happy or prosperous, so when customers eat Taiyaki it is believed it would bring them luck.
When co-owner Jimmy Chen and his friend traveled to Japan, he fell in love with Taiyaki and the cute fish-shaped cone. He wanted to bring back the dessert combining Asian and Japanese culture and bring the fusion to New York.
Chen mentioned in an Cosmopolitan article on the new desert shop that their new desert is a “crispier” and “fluffier than the cakier Japanese version.”
Taiyaki’s fish mouth has been widened to fit the ice cream. The fish-shaped cone attracted many customers to come and try out the new unique dessert.
Taiyaki NYC has five signature favorites. The Classic, Matcha Better, Straight Outta Japan, It’s Choco-lit and You’re Berry Lovely. The Classic which contains vanilla ice cream, custard filling, strawberry wafer and chocolate drizzle. Matcha Better contains matcha ice cream, red bean filling matcha powder and strawberry drizzle. Straight Outta Japan contains matcha black sesame swirl, red bean filling and mocha wafer. It’s Choco-lit has chocolate ice cream, custard filling, chocolate powder, a wafer and choco drizzle. Lastly, You’re Berry Lovely is filled with vanilla ice cream, custard filling, strawberry, rainbow sprinkles and strawberry drizzle.
Customers can add their own toppings if the signature favorites are not enough, the toppings include chocolate sprinkles, mini m&m’s, wafers, graham cracker crumbs, mochi, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate powder, crushed Oreos and strawberries. Each taiyaki is sold for seven dollars.
May Wu, a student at Baruch College said, she loves the unique dessert.
“I tried the one with green tea with ice cream on top,” said Wu. “It was very good. I would come back to try other flavors!”
Taiyaki is located on 119 Baxter Street between Hester and Canal Street. Taiyaki originally opened in September. The opening day was crowded, with long lines wrapped around the block. Customers took out their phones and Snapchated or Instagramed the cute fish-shaped cone to show their friends.
The hype of Taiyaki lasted for about two months and slowed down for a while until they unveiled a new type of product, the croyaki. Taiyaki has been running a new promotion for the new desert the croyaki. Patrons can buy one croyaki and get one free. The croyaki is a mix between croissant and the signature taiyaki. It is served with red bean or custard and powdered sugar. The outside of the croyaki is crispy while the inside is chewy.
Jimmy Tao, a tourist from Chicago, said he enjoyed visiting the shop.
“Taiyaki is very special,” said Tao. “I love the fish-shaped cone over the regular cones. You also have the choice of red bean and custard. I’m trying the Croyaki next, I hope there will be more dessert places that combine both cultures so everyone could experience the different cultures.”
Editors Note: This article has been modified from its original version due to an error in attribution. The statement from Jimmy Chen was a summary done by Cosmopolitan and summarized for clarity.