Eat your ice cream on a fish-shaped cone in New York City

There was once a time when ordering an ice cream cone meant choosing between two simple options: sugar or wafer. Nowadays creative choices abound, with predictable cones being replaced by churros, donuts, rice krispie treats and, with the arrival of Taiyaki NYC, a fish-shaped cake.

TAIYAKI NYC's fishcone.

TAIYAKI NYC’s fishcone. 

Image by TAIYAKI NYC on Facebook

The small ice cream shop opened in New York City’s Chinatown last week and became an instant sensation, thanks in part to Instagram. Co-owner Jimmy Chen tells Lonely Planet, “the minute we hand people their fish, they instantly pull out their phones to take a photo.”

The fish, called taiyaki, is a popular Japanese snack traditionally made with pancake or waffle batter and filled with red bean paste, chocolate, or custard. Tai translates to “sea bream” in Japanese and, according to Chen, is considered a prestigious fish often presented as a gift. Yaki means fried or grilled. The quirky cones are filled with custard or red bean, then ice cream, and finished with a drizzle of strawberry, chocolate, caramel, or condensed milk and a dusting of toppings like mochi or, for the purist, rainbow sprinkles. Small batch soft serve comes in classic vanilla and chocolate, or, perhaps more authentically Japanese, matcha and black sesame.

“Travelling is our passion” the Chinese-American New York City native explains. “We love travelling back to Asia and bringing back some of the culture, and we’re happy for the opportunity to share this Japanese dessert with New York City.”

Steven Wongprimary