In Japan, they have what is known as 和菓子 (wagashi). Wagashi are Japanese-style confections. One of those confections is what's known as 鯛焼き (taiyaki). Taiyaki is a confection in the shape of a 鯛 (tai), or sea bream, a celebratory fish in Japan said to bring good luck. The pastry of this confection is like that of a waffle as it’s made from flour. The inside is filled with 餡子 (anko), which is a sweet bean paste made from 小豆 (azuki) beans. Other than anko, you will also find many shops selling taiyaki with custard inside as well, but taiyaki are usually (and more commonly) prepared using anko.
Taiyaki was first said to be made at 浪花家総本店 (naniwaya sōhonten). Founded by Seijiro Kanbei, he decided to go with a sea bream shaped confection not just because of its celebratory value, but because it's also a high-quality fish that most don’t get to eat very often.
In Japan, there are two kinds of taiyaki, a “natural" taiyaki, and a “non-natural" taiyaki. The natural taiyaki is also referred to as an 一丁 (icchō) taiyaki and is made one at a time in a separate iron mold of a sea bream.
On the other hand a non-natural taiyaki, also referred to as a 養殖 (yōshoku) taiyaki, is made by using two iron plates with about five or six taiyaki molds. Two taiyaki are then attached with a filling placed inside one of the taiyaki when cooked. The icchō taiyaki tends to be crispy while the yōshoku taiyaki tends to be softer and has more of a waffle-like texture to it.
Taiyaki are now enjoyed all across Japan. There are small locally owned taiyaki shops that serve some of the best in the country, while others are huge chain taiyaki shops that you can find throughout Japan. Through the articles listed below, I hope that you can learn more about where you can eat this delicious wagashi, and I hope you can also learn about the differences in the way that each shop serves them.