When I taught in Korea, I remember eating little fish shaped snacks called bungeoppang (they are also known in Japanese as taiyaki). These were sold fresh on the street and are about the size of your hand. When I left Korea, I thought that would have been the last I saw of these little treats. Thankfully, Canada is a place of diversity! I recall being so ecstatic when I rediscovered them here. The best part is they weren’t frozen or premade, but freshly made just like Korea. Bungeoppang/taiyaki are essentially waffles in the shape of a fish, commonly stuffed with a sweet red bean paste.
Just like making waffles, the lovely aroma just fills the air. To make these fishies, a two-sided griddle with the shape of fish is used. First, batter is poured into one side of the mold. Then, red bean filling is added on top. After, more batter is added but to the opposite side of the waffle iron. When it’s stable enough, the first half of the lid is then closed on top of the second one to seal the fish. It’s similar to the way an egg waffle (aka bubble cake) is made.
The result is a fresh, hot pastry with just enough crispiness on the outside and a soft, sweet, gooey inside. I’m not sure exactly why they are made in the shape of fish, but I’m going to guess it’s to make it more attractive and fun looking to kids and fish just happens to be a symbol of luck or good fortune in Asia. Like any waffle, it’s best eaten immediately when it comes fresh out of the maker. 🙂