Japan has many dishes and treats that have the word “yaki.” These include ika-yaki (grilled squid), yaki-tori (skewered grilled chicken), suki-yaki (hotpot) among many other savory dishes. But there are also plenty of traditional desserts like taiyaki (fish-shaped sweet stuffed with anko), oobanyaki and each of these vary in flavor and taste depending on region. Sometimes, they look exactly the same so you may wonder what makes them different.
In this article, let’s learn about one such variety of “wagashi” (traditional Japanese sweet) called Imagawayaki.
There are various opinions about the origin of the name of this sweet. One of the main arguments is that Imagawayaki was sold in the area of Imagawa Bridge during the Edo period, which is now near Kanda, Tokyo, and hence it was named Imagawa-yaki. Imagawayaki was also once popular in the Meiji period. It was so famous that the founder of Morinaga even said “as long as Imagawayaki and roasted sweet potatoes are available, there’s no place for western-style desserts in Ginza.”
The ingredients to make an imagawayaki are similar to those of other wagashi like taiyaki – eggs, flour and milk.
However, the biggest difference is the the pancake-like coating.
Unlike taiyaki, the mold is double-layered. So the pancake-like mix is poured in the upper and lower pans. Between these two layers, you can find a variety of fillings – some traditional like red-bean paste, while others modern like chocolate.
Most foreigners find traditional Japanese treats too sweet but since a sugary filling is sandwiched between thick layers, imagawayaki is fragrant but not intensely sweet.
The shop owner of Azukiya Ando (あずきや安堂) also told us that since the batter is so thick, you can eat an imagawayaki cold or warm.
Shop owner of Azukiya Ando
Address: 1-36-10 Fuda, Chofu-shi, Tokyo (5-min walk from Chofu Station)
Website: Azukiya Ando