Hayase Ayu (Sweet Water Fish Sweets)

Brand: Not sure

Cost: 129 Yen

Found At: A kiosk at Gifu Station

The Ayu fish is a small, freshwater fish that was traditionally caught in the summertime through the use if cormorant birds. Fishermen put a restraint around the throat of the bird that allows them to swallow smaller fish, but prevents them from swallowing the bigger fish, which are then retrieved from the bird’s gullet by the fishermen. You can also catch them on a hook, but where’s the fun in that?

These little fish are a then grilled with salt and served as a classic summer delicacy. And because it is a seasonal delicacy, I cannot afford to eat them. What I can afford to eat, however, are the ayu-themed sweets that also appear at the same time as the fish. These treats consist of sweet mochi (pounded rice) wrapped in a pancake and seared with the face of a fish. Soft and gooey, with a light sweetness, these little treats combine everything I love about pancakes with the best parts of mochi in a perfect synergy. Not only do they provide an ideal complement to a bitter cup of tea or coffee, but the cheerful fish shape and goofy fish face can’t help but put you in a good mood.

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