Some of the best meals we had in Japan came from small street vendors.  We’re no strangers to personal proprietors specializing in a single dish (or few) from a small booth on a street corner; Portland’s food cart culture is renowned.  While we feared these establishments would be less adept at English, they actually proved easier when it came to ordering.  With only a few items offered – most physically present behind a glass pane – it was a simple matter of pointing and holding up two fingers.  And very like the much-loved, tiny food vendors at home, their business only survives if they’re really good (as patrons frequently have plenty of alternate options).

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

By far, our favorite stop was a small taiyaki booth in a covered shopping alley just off the train station in Fushimi.  Enchanted by anime, I was determined to find real taiyaki (sort of a pancake stuffed with adzuki bean paste).  Stumbling off our train on our way to check out the sake district, my eye caught on the cartoon fish on the awning, the slightly sweet scent, and the tantalizing iron mold housing the tasty decadence.  Hot and slightly crispy, it was pure heaven in my mouth.  We contemplated stopping by on our way out as well, but we opted for hurrying to a shrine instead.  I will forever dream of that mouth-watering, fish-shaped pastry…

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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