taiyaki (5)
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根津のたいやき Taiyaki: One thing I will sincerely miss when I leave Japan is the little mom & pop stands selling traditional Japanese treats like imagawayaki and taiyaki. This little stand in Nezu always seems to have a line, even in COVID times, and serves anko (red bean) filled fish-shaped pancakes. They cost just about $2 USD and they take care to snip off the burnt edges with scissors before placing your pancake in a to-go pouch, meant to be eaten quickly after it comes from the grill. Their red bean paste ... (read more) 4.5/5.0

exceptional japan nezu anko redbean tokyo taiyaki 4.5
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Naniwaya Taiyaki: Wandering aimlessly around the Roppongi Hill neighborhood of Japan, I stumbled upon a small sweets shop with a sizable line and a pleasantly sweet aroma. The man in the front asked if I had a reservation – I replied that I did not and he asked me to kindly sit in a designated waiting area while their speciality taiyaki, a fish-shaped Japanese pastry filled with red bean, was made to order. After just a few minutes, and passing over 180¥ in coin (about $1.65 in USD), I was handed a taiyaki ... (read more) 4.0/5.0

recommended tokyo redbean naniwaya taiyaki 4.0
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Otafuku x Medetai Red Bean Taiyaki: Otafuku x Medetai is a small Japanese to-go street food shop in the East Village specializing in okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and taiyaki. Taiyaki is a classic Japanese dessert with a fish-shaped waffle exterior and different fillings inside (traditionally red bean). They make all their taiyaki from scratch here, filling their detailed custom molds with batter and producing 6 fishies at a time, all of which you can watch. This was probably the freshest taiyaki I've had -- it came out pipping h... (read more) 4.5/5.0

exceptional nyc japanese otafukuxmedetai red bean taiyaki 4.5
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Uji Pineapple softserve in small taiyaki cone: Two exciting updates on the Uji-front (my favorite soft serve spot in Berkeley): they now have "small" sized taiyaki cones, which are ideal (you still get a ton of soft serve, and it's about $5), and the new seasonal flavor is pineapple. The taiyaki cone is as good as ever - a fish-shaped waffle that's crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside, with a surprise of red bean plugging the bottom. It's the ideal serving vehicle that holds up especially well compared to regular cones (it d... (read more) 4.0/5.0

recommended icecream berkeley japanese uji pineapple softserve in small taiyaki cone 4.0 ujitime
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Uji Lavender soft serve in Taiyaki cone: The best lavender ice cream I've ever had was in Hokkaido, Japan at Farm Tomita, where their lush, seemingly endless fields of lavender are the basis for wondrously floral and creamy soft serve. I have yet to find anything that comes close, but the seasonal lavender flavor at Uji, a Japanese ice cream shop in Berkeley, is a strong contender. The trick is their careful balance - the lavender does not overpower (which otherwise would lead to a mouthful of perfume-flavored cream), yet the flav... (read more) 4.5/5.0

exceptional uji lavender soft serve in taiyaki cone 4.5 ujitime