Walking through Shibuya the other night in a fruitless search for Game Boy games, I saw something that caused me to pause and do a literal double-take: クロワッサンたい焼, or “croissant taiyaki.” Curiosity got the best of me, so I bought one.
Taiyaki, in case you’re not familiar, are a popular Japanese pastry: A fish-shaped piece of pan-fried dough usually filled with adzuki (sweet red bean paste). Normally, the dough is reminiscent of a waffle, slightly sweet but not excessively so, fluffy inside and slightly crisp outside. A croissant, of course, is totally not like this at all, consisting of layers of thin, buttery pastry dough. So, I had to wonder: How would this work?
Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s basically a Japanese cronut. While it bears the shape of a taiyaki, more or less, the consistency of the pastry is more like that of a croissant. The outside is glazed and sprinkled with big chunks of sugar — or, one hopes, salt in the case of the other available flavor, tuna mayo corn.
The taiyaki thing is really more or less a cheat, though. In effect, this is a rectangular croissant that’s been pressed in a grill that imprints the outline of a taiyaki into it. They don’t even bother to trim off the excess dough. For shame.
Tastewise, too, it’s much more like a croissant than a taiyaki: Flaky and buttery.
Though admittedly the adzuki filling pegs this concoction as not necessarily being straight outta Paris.
Although it’s basically just a fancy stamp on a slightly Japanified croissant, it wasn’t too shabby. I could have done without the sugar glaze, though. The outer shell tasted for all the world like those Danish butter cookies that come in the big round blue tin. Do they still make those? I guess they don’t need to. The croissant taiyaki has rendered them obsolete, much like the cronut.
Final verdict: Japan continues to demonstrate its remarkable talent for pushing me toward diabetic shock.