I have a thing for imagawayaki. Part of it was because of my youth, as the local Chinese population then adopted this casual eats from their ex-occupier in Taiwan which, like the nuts vendors at the street corners of Manhattan, promoted its own sales by smell… Sadly, it seems only when you’re walking around town will roasted chestnuts smell anywhere nearly that good.
Thanks to Kanon, everyone and their mom knows what the frell a taiyaki is. But just like how the nikuman is really a spin off of northern style bao zi (and we really need some anime to showcase my favorite Chinese export to northeast Asian cusine, zhajiangmian), the taiyaki is really an ornate relative of the imagawayaki. I think the Japanese variety of imagawayaki tend to be more cakey, with more filling and a generally larger construction than the shell-thin Taiwanese variety, but it’s still a step down from the whale that is an average taiyaki. Well, YMMV of course. These kinds of traditional snacks come in all kind of variety, if one can dare to generalize.
I don’t really know much about taiyaki for that matter. The real truth is that, from a frugal parent’s perspective, it’s a wasteful gimmick to lure kids. Woo it’s a cute fish! Ugh. It’s this unshapely mess that will get those filling all over your hands. It makes your kids whine if you’ve not had the chance to show them how it’s suppose to work. Down with silly shape gimmicks! Down with Macbook Air?
I jest. But it makes you wonder about the imagawayaki. All in all, it’s an unremarkable snack. To western sensibilities, flour-based snacks are quite common, so rice-based ones tend to draw more attention (like mochi and daifuku). I don’t blame them–those do taste hella good. However the imagawayaki is like, the ghetto choice of the everyday man’s confectionery. Not everyone’s snubby enough to enjoy their tea and wagashi all the time? I guess if you can turn into a butterfly and cackle like the best of them, maybe.
That said, in the US we have Waffle Houses and IHOPs, so maybe that niche is taken cared of. I’ve yet to see a pancake place that’d let you have red bean paste… but that’d be dorayaki? Isn’t that the granddaddy of all anime foods?
True Tears is definitely not. While it is an intriguing exhibition of strange people and the not-so-strange, the quirky interaction so far is definitely catching my attention. Plus a chance to relive the taste of imagawayaki!