Three of the best taiyaki

Try the best taiyaki in town

Hidden in the basement of the labyrinthine Gloria Department Store which leads off from Zhongshan Park metro station, Taican (look for their bright red signs and a large, light-up plastic ice cream) is a bustling little stand serving up a range of Japanese taiyaki, the fish-shaped waffle-like filled treats that are as cute to look at as they are tasty to eat. Taican’s batter is more delicate than at many taiyaki purveyors, meaning care is needed when biting into the soft casing, but this blends perfectly with the heavier, rich fillings within. Prices start from 8RMB for varieties such as the nicely sweet red bean and go up to 12RMB for the (not quite so tasty) savoury fillings such as tuna.


Taican 999 Changning Lu, near Huichuan Lu. See address details


Lighter and softer than their classic cousins at Taican, Taiku’s taiyaki (13RMB) are nonetheless a tasty treat for a trek around Tianzifang. Taiku specialise in white taiyaki. A sign beside this small, newly-opened outlet in the lanes explains that the major difference between the two varieties is the presence of glutinous rice in the white taiyaki, giving them a stickier, cake-like taste. There are just three flavours: anko (red bean), matcha and our favourite, milk-cream, a smooth vanilla custard that’s filling without being too cloying or overly sweet.


Taiku No 15, Lane 248 Taikang Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu. See address details


Usukawa Taiyaki Taimu took a spot in our Best Desserts cover feature back in October 2011 and over 18 months later they still hold a strong place in our affections. Everything about their small fish waffles is superior, from the smooth, rich-but-not-too-rich cream fillings to the delightfully crunchy exterior. Go for the thick chocolate with subtle vanilla tones (10RMB); truly masterful. The sheer quality and addictively tasty flavours of the waffle bream at Usukawa make their low prices – which start from 8RMB for the red bean, custard, matcha and mango flavours and only go as high as 10RMB for banana custard and chocolate custard varieties – seem almost ridiculous.


Usukawa Taiyaki Taimu 1111 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Caoxi Bei Lu. See address details