By Jessica Boico and Elizabeth Smith
With temperatures dropping, it may seem like ice cream season is coming to a close. However, at Taiyaki NYC, ice cream season is just getting started. Located on Baxter Street between Little Italy and Chinatown, Taiyaki NYC is one of the newest food crazes in Manhattan.
At almost any time of day, the line is out the door to get into the tiny NYC shop, which opened in mid-September. The shop has taken its own twist on a traditional Japanese dessert. Traditionally, Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake filled with sweet red bean paste. The shop has transformed these fish into delicious ice cream cones. The fish-shaped cones are made fresh daily, providing a sweet, bakery-like aroma when you first walk in. But it doesn’t stop there—the main attraction isn’t just the tasty cones, it’s what’s on top: flavorful soft-serve ice cream.
After waiting on the line down the street, you enter the store, bombarded with even more people still waiting on line. Fellow customers can be seen maneuvering their phones to take pictures of their tasty creations or leaning over and around people’s heads in an effort to read the menu.
When you first get up to the counter, you can choose either to make your own cone or to pick from one of their “favorites.” If you’re a chocolate lover, I highly suggest trying the “It’s Choco-Lit:” a standard custard filled cone topped with chocolate ice cream, chocolate powder, chocolate drizzle, and a chocolate wafer—an unbelievable chocolate experience from the first lick. Some “favorites” options include “Matcha Better” and “You’re Berry Lovely,” among many others. If you choose to go another route and create your own, you can follow the four easy steps to “Make Your Own Taiyaki.”
Step one: Choose the ice cream flavor, which ranges from the classic chocolate and vanilla to the more eccentric black sesame and matcha. You can even combine chocolate and vanilla or black sesame and matcha to get the best of both worlds.
Step two: Choose a filling to go into your fish-shaped cone. Options include a traditional red bean filling or a modern custard filling.
Step three: Choose the drizzle on top—chocolate, caramel, strawberry, or condensed milk.
Step four: Add toppings. For most high school students like us, this is when we choose what will look most aesthetically pleasing for our next Instagram post. The large variety of toppings ranges from graham cracker crumbs to rainbow sprinkles to mochi and numerous others.
The next step is key: Find the perfect lighting for your ice cream masterpiece before it melts. Hint: the white wall to the right of the register works perfectly.
Finally, as your phone lights up with Instagram notifications, you can enjoy your ice cream stress-free. The smooth, creamy texture of the delicious ice cream ensures it will be almost gone by the time you walk back outside into the crisp, cool air. Once outdoors, you can enjoy the warm inside of the cone, which will help combat the cold air and any brain freeze you might have acquired.
While temperatures may be dropping, you should still make sure to have Taiyaki NYC at the top of your list of places to visit in NYC. With so many ice cream, filling, drizzle, and toppings combinations, you never have to order the same thing twice.