Try the Japanese Treat Taiyaki at Tainoya!
Nov 04, 2019
Tainoya is a new sweets shop that opened outside of the Flags building on September 20th, 2019. This shop serves taiyaki, a traditional Japanese pastry that is shaped like a seabream (“tai” in Japanese) and filled with red bean paste. Tainoya puts a new spin on an old classic, so this is a great place to try it for the first time!
The History of Taiyaki
Taiyaki are grilled in seabream-shaped iron casts as seen in the picture above. This red bean paste-filled Japanese treat has been around since the Meiji period.
Taiyaki was based on imagawayaki, a similar treat with red bean paste filling that was in a simple, circular shape. In order to increase sales, iron casts were made of different shapes. First Kameyaki shaped like a turtle (kame) was created, followed by usagiyaki shaped like a rabbit (usagi). Neither took off, so finally the seabream (tai) shaped taiyaki was created and was a big success.
Why was this? There are many reasons, with the simplest being that seabream is something that people actually eat in Japan, as opposed to turtles and rabbits. There are other culturally-based reasons as well, the first being that seabream is expensive, so people were happy to buy a representation of it at a reasonable price. The second is that there is the saying “tai wa medetai”, meaning that “seabream is for celebrations”, so taiyaki became a reasonably priced way to celebrate special moments. The snack took off among the working class and expanded from there.
You can try taiyaki for yourself at Tainoya, a newly opened taiyaki stand in Shinjuku. Our editors took the opportunity to try out this traditional Japanese snack for themselves!
Savor Tainoya's Delicious Taiyaki
The shell of the taiyaki served at Tainoya is light, with a good balance of crispy and soft. The taiyaki served here aims to be as close to a freshly made pastry as possible. The texture is more crispy than chewy, making this thin pastry a great choice to take with you on the go. You won’t get tired eating this sweet pastry as you take a walk around Shinjuku, with each crispy bite more delicious than the next. The shell by itself is very tasty!
The red bean paste filling isn’t too sweet, so it goes well with the shell. Red azuki beans from Tokachi, Hokkaido are stewed in beet sugar from Hokkaido, with seaweed salt added as the secret ingredient. The red azuki beans are left as is for a high-quality flavor. The filling is so smooth that you wouldn’t think that it is tsubu-an, the chunky variety of red bean filling. If you love red bean paste or you like your desserts not overwhelmingly sweet, then this is the taiyaki for you!
Taiyaki goes Great with Soft-Serve Ice Cream!
In addition to taiyaki, they also offer a taiyaki and soft-serve ice cream dessert. Kagaboucha roasted green tea, a refreshing drink available either hot or cold, is also available. Either of these are perfect to take on-the-go!
You can choose from Hokkaido vanilla or Uji matcha soft-serve ice cream. Choose whichever suits your mood!
The taiyaki at Tainoya are freshly made, thin and crispy pastries with sweet red bean paste filling and a slightly salty aftertaste. If you’re feeling like you want a bit more, they also offer a taiyaki and soft-serve ice cream dessert, as well as roasted green tea. This simple stand embodies modern Japan with a mature design that is mixed with some cuteness. Japan’s traditional snack food has been seamlessly mixed with modern aesthetic at this stand. If you find yourself near the Flags building, then pick up a taiyaki for yourself. You may find yourself coming back again and again!
Outside of the Flags Building’s first floor entrance
3-37-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
A 3-minute walk from the South Exit of Odakyu Shinjuku Station
Taiyaki – 200 yen (including tax)
Taiyaki and Soft-Served Ice Cream (Hokkaido Vanilla or Uji Matcha) – 500 yen (including tax)
Kagaboucha Roasted Green Tea (Hot or Cold) – 250 yen (including tax)
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