Taiyaki is fish-shaped cake that is made with waffle/pancake batter and is usually filled with azuki (red bean paste). Some other popular fillings include custard, chocolate, matcha, or sweet potato. Tai = sea bream and yaki = baked. So taiyaki literally translates to “baked sea bream.” There is no actual fish in the dessert. It’s name comes from the way it is shaped.
Taiyaki is said to have been created in the Meiji Era. Taiyaki became popular in 1976 when “Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun” (“Swim! Taiyaki”) emerged as an extremely popular children’s song. The batter is placed into the taiyaki molds, and when it is partially cooked, the filling is added into the batter. Then one-half of the batter sandwiches the other to complete the taiyaki.