Among the 11 famous anko (sweet bean paste) stores in the East and West, we introduce you to the famous Taiyaki Wakaba in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Sticking to the traditional ‘Icchoyaki’ method
Taiyaki Wakaba’s ‘Taiyaki’ in Tokyo
Taiyaki is a sweet red bean paste confection made to make it easy to eat sea bream, which is coveted by common people. Taiyaki was eaten in Tokyo in the Meiji era, but the store’s taiyaki was born in 1953. A job the founder started from scratch after the war, became a full-time occupation.
In the poor days after the war, the Naoki Prize-winning writer and theater critic Ando Tsuruo praised “Wakaba” in a newspaper for its honest business practices, with anko (sweet bean paste) filling all the way to the tip of the tail, and the store’s popularity is still strong today.
The homemade red bean paste is crushed red bean paste. In order to savorthe flavour of the azuki beans themselves, the azuki beans are cooked and then kneaded into the bean paste through crushing the skin, without removing the azuki’s lye. The right level of texture of the azuki beans and just the right level of salt means you’ll never get tired of eating it.
Ito Takuma, the nephew of the third generation, is currently in charge of the store. It takes a lot of skill to grill ‘Itchoyaki (一丁焼き)’, in which the chef rotates the molds and cooks the fish one by one, keeping in mind the cooking characteristics of each mold. However, the Itchoyaki method has its advantages: the thin part of the skin is crispy, while the thicker part is firm and juicy.
Mr. Ito, who is also particular about the batter for the crust, says, “It is physically demanding to stand in front of the gas stove, but there is nothing that beats the deliciousness of the taiyaki. After baking, the taiyaki are trimmed around the edges with scissors to complete the baking process.
The taiyakis are then packed in folded boxes, with the best face facing out to see the color of the baked taiyaki.
Taste the wild azuki beans with a salty flavor.
Address: Ozawa Building 1F, 1-10 Wakaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (map)
Business hours: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (until 6:00 p.m. on national holidays)
Official website: http://www.246.ne.jp/~i-ozawa/
Photography by Ishii Hiroaki Composition by Yu Fujita and Atsumi Goto (this magazine)
This article is translated from https://intojapanwaraku.com/travel/218497/