The taiyaki stand along National Road in Muntinlupa is a curious thing. I’ve seen this shop blogged about on actual Japanese blogs from Japan… it must be good! It’s very close to Alabang where I live, but because you have to pass by the underpass of SLEX going to Muntinlupa, the traffic there can be maddening.
Thus, the better idea is to take the SLEX highway and go through the Susana Heights exit, go left along National Road and take a left until you reach Caltex. Park at Caltex then cross the road to the Taiyaki stand!
You’ll see their taiyaki mold:
Ah, but I get ahead of myself. What is taiyaki you say, and why fish?
Well, taiyaki is a traditional Japanese snack which is often served at festivals. Let me remove the mysticism from it and just call it something a “gaijin” can more easily relate to:
It’s a fish-shaped waffle.
And no, there’s (usually) no fish inside. Taiyaki is made of normal pancake-style batter, grilled in the fish-shaped mold I linked above, and filled with azuki (Japanese red-bean paste). It’s quite good, and fun to eat and the shape is very cute.
The taiyaki here though is made with custard or monggo. Probably because red bean paste is harder to find and more expensive here in the Philippines, and likely also to cater to Filipino tastes. Fortunately, this resulted in a nice taiyaki at a very affordable price — 10 pesos per fish.
So how does it taste?
It tastes a lot like a waffle with custard in it — for the Custard flavor. It’s like what you’d get from Waffle Time, however unlike Waffle Time where the waffle is crusty and a bit hard, and usually very dry, the taiyaki here is soft and chewy, and not crisp at all. I dropped by at 12 noon, so it wasn’t exactly fresh, but the way the ojiisan here cooks the taiyaki is soft and he doesn’t cook it to a crisp. It holds this soft chewy texture all day, it seems.
I was not too impressed by the Custard flavor though, because it was very pedestrian and just like what you’d get at Waffle Time, except the taiyaki is more fun-shaped and nicer to eat because of the spread. Instead of a round waffle the flat surface means you get more sauce in the middle compared to the round cylindrical shape of a waffle.
The Monggo flavor though was much better as it was more unique. It has a more unique flavor that you don’t usually associate with waffles, and is just the right amount of sweetness. It’s great! But try both — at ten bucks a pop there’s really no excuse not to try both. I plunked down a 100 and got 5 of each to take home to the niece.
While the taiyaki wasn’t a special taiyaki like the white dough taiyaki made of tapioca flour, it’s a welcome change from the usual waffle-time waffle, the price is great, and you get a lot for your peso. My only regret is it’s in a rather inaccessible place for me, hidden behind the traffic of the National Road.
That said, I wouldn’t mind going back here in the future. I have a friend in the area so it’s a good excuse to pass by for some taiyaki.