Kanji of the Day: 人 (じん/にん/ひと) jin/nin/hito (person)

人形焼 (ningyōyaki), which translates to “Fried Dolls”, is one of the most popular souvenir items from Tokyo.


These cute little cakes are made by pouring batter into intricate molds, whose design varies from the traditional 七福神 to your favorite cat, Hallo Kitty. The simple yet tasteful sponge cake really complements the anko (sweet red bean paste) inside. It is kind of like たい焼き (Tai-yaki), but the cake is a bit softer and spongy compared to that of Taiyaki. Traditionally, the stuffing is anko, but you can also find some ningyoyaki with various stuffing like vanilla custard and chocolate cream.


As the name 人形焼 sort of indicates, these cute little cakes were invented by a confectioner from 人形町 (ningyō-chō), Tokyo. The city was named 人形町 because there used to be many puppeteers living in the city.


Today, there are not very many puppeteers left in 人形町 any more, but you can certainly find these delicious cakes everywhere in the city. Each has its own unique cake mold, and it’s quite fun to compare all different kinds of 人形焼! Please let us know if you have every get a chance to try 人形焼, and what they looked like 🙂

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Post by nanami

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