Before I start this review, I should give a little background on what taiyaki is. It's a very popular dessert in Japan, that's started to spread around most of Asia. Just to clear this out of the way right off the bat, there is nothing fishy about taiyaki at all, other than the shape. There is no fish in this, and it does not taste like fish at all. I'm not really sure why they make it shaped like a fish, but it's always been that way and I'm not going to argue. The original taiyaki is a fish shaped cake that's often filled with either red beans or flavoured custards. You can pretty much find them being made fresh at any train station in Japan, and if I'm near that train station you'll likely find me buying some.
This is a modification of the classic taiyaki in ice cream form. It's both similar and very different than taiyaki in several ways. It's similar because it's shaped like a fish, and it contains a good amount of red bean paste (a very sweet bean that works well in desserts). It's very different in that there really isn't any cake involved, and there's a lot of ice cream in the center. While I wouldn't say that this is a perfect representation of the taiyaki experience, it is a fairly good ice cream version.
This treat did do one thing for me, it confirmed a suspicion. I'm not a huge fan of red bean paste in many desserts (if I get taiyaki I often get the custard filled versions). I do like it in some Japanese desserts, but most of the time I feel like the texture is just too thick for me. That was until I ate this ice cream treat. Then it hit me, vanilla ice cream and red bean paste are really a great combination. In fact, I might even rate it as one of my favourite Asian flavour combinations. I've had red bean ice cream, and even had red bean in other ice cream treats, but this particular treat really highlights how well these two flavours work together. It's creamy and just a little sweet, both flavours melt in your mouth and work so well together.
I would say that my only hard complaint about this ice cream is the fish shaped shell. It was pretty stale and pretty soft. It would have been nice to have a bit of crunch on the outside of this fish; it would have added a great texture.