Negishi (family and place name) has been around for more than 40 years and could go back a lot longer. However, our family experience with them only goes back to the 1970’s. Photos of the current owner’s family are displayed in the shop. It reminds me of old bakeries back in the United States run by families for generation after generation. Negishi is not a chain, it is a family shop and you can tell, or rather smell the difference, the moment you walk through the doors.
Taiyaki Negishi and the art of Chichibu red bean paste treats
Still run by the same family, Negishi offers fresh taiyaki made daily the old fashioned way, on fish shaped griddles over raw-fire heat (gas stoves). Regular customers come into the shop throughout the day to pick up pre-packaged orders. Walk-ins, like us, are also treated to freshly made, made-to-order taiyaki. It only takes a few minutes until the shop is filled with the sweet smell of taiyaki being made on the griddle. It is a moment to savor if you love Japanese food. It is a moment to savor if you love good food in general.
There is a very special little shop in the city of Chichibu (Saitama prefecture) that makes a delicious Japanese treat called taiyaki. Taiyaki are usually fish shaped pancake dough treats with a filling inside usually made of red beans ground into a paste.
Taiyaki can also be made with custards. My favorite is red bean paste but I also love chocolate custards that have been gently toasted. Oishii! (Delicious!)The taste of red beans in this paste form is gently sweet, not over-powering. It is a mix of vegetable and fruit marmalade kind of taste without the sticky sugar of jellies and jams. It is a paste. It is readily enjoyed with hot or cold teas or juices and is a great addition to a picnic if you are hiking or taking a walking tour of this beautiful mountain town.
Here, Madame Negishi prepares fresh taiyaki for some very happy customers.
When you visit Chichibu be sure to put Negishi taiyaki on your list of places to visit. It is only a few minutes walk from the train station and various temples and shrines can be found on the way.
Chichibu, Saitama, Japan