Taiyaki chain and American rock band form unlikely partnership.

Up until about a week ago, if you’d asked us to take our best guess at completing the sentence “Rock band Aerosmith is collaborating with a Japanese company to produce _____,” we’d probably have guessed “guitars.” Or maybe we would have gone with “accessories,” “sneakers,” or another apparel item. Basically, either some sort of music-related project, or one that leverages the fashionable, glamorous rock star lifestyle.

What we wouldn’t have guessed, though, is that Aerosmith would be teaming up with Naruto Taiyaki Honpo, a chain of snack stands that specialize in taiyaki, a traditional Japanese baked sweet with anko (sweet bean paste) inside.

▼ The Naruto Taiyaki Honpo branch in downtown Tokyo’s Shinjuku Sanchome neighborhood

And yet, the team-up didn’t come completely out of nowhere. It turns out that Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler has been a taiyaki fan for years, always making sure to eat some during his trips to Japan and once reportedly scarfing down 10 of them before a concert in the country. So with his love for the humble street food dessert confirmed many times over, a partnership with Naruto Taiyaki Honpo has resulted in a special Aerosmith taiyaki, which went on sale on November 11.

As mentioned above, the orthodox way to make taiyaki is with anko, but some versions substitute custard or chocolate cream instead. The Aerosmith taiyaki sticks with anko, but gives it a twist by infusing the bean paste with apple flavor. Though Naruto Taiyaki Honpo didn’t make newly shaped baking molds for the collaboration (like taiyaki chain Kurikoan did for its Magikarp Pokémon taiyaki), the Aerosmith taiyaki come in special wrappers with the logo of Aerosmith’s new greatest hits album.

They’re priced at 300 yen (US$2) each, which is actually a little on the high side for taiyaki. Nevertheless, as a fan of both taiyaki and Aerosmith, our ace reporter Mr. Sato bought two, because doing so also gets you a pair of QR code cards which you can use to enter a lottery for Aerosmith merch.

Unwrapping them reveals the traditional cute taiyaki shape. Among taiyaki fans and shops, there’s a bit of debate over whether it’s better to have the outer layer be thin and crispy or thick and fluffy. Naruto Taiyaki Honpo goes the thin-and-crispy route, and the contrasting textures as you bite into it and then reach the soft, chewy anko at the center was intriguing and enticing, Mr. Sato felt.

The flavor was delicious, sweetly satisfying but subtler than a sticky apple pie. The Aerosmith even smells great, with an inviting apple aroma once you take a bite and the center is exposed to the air.

As a matter of fact, the Aerosmith taiyaki is so good that some Naruto Taiyaki Honpo branches have already sold out. Thankfully, some of them say they’ll be restocking and offering them again in December, when their comforting warmth and apple scent should make them even more satisfying to eat, so don’t be surprised if you see Mr. Sato standing in line to buy two more.

Related: Naruto Taiyaki Honpo location list
Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he has strong opinions about whether taiyaki should be crispy or fluffy.

[ Read in Japanese ]