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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

From Japanese Street Food To Instagram Craze, ‘Taiyaki’ Cones Come To Logan Square

The Asian street food is a popular item at Mini Mott, the new burger and shake joint at 3057 W. Logan Blvd.

Mini Mott at 3057 W. Logan Boulevard is serving Instagram-worthy, fish-shaped ice cream cones.
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LOGAN SQUARE — On the hunt for an unique dessert?

Head to Mini Mott, the new burger and shake joint at 3057 W. Logan Blvd. for ice cream in an Instagram-worthy, fish-shaped cone, called Taiyaki.

“The fun factor is so high, and you just don’t see it in Chicago,” said Mini Mott co-owner Vicki Kim.

Taiyaki cones date back all the way back to early 1900s Japan, but they didn’t become popular there until the late 1970s, according to the Japan Times. A Tokyo cafe called Naniwaya Souhonten is said to have been the first spot to make the fun treat.

The cones eventually made their way to other Asian countries like Korea, where they’re referred to as Boong Uh Bbang.

Over the years, chefs in New York and San Francisco have adopted the street food trend, but Chicago restauranteurs have been slow to catch on — outside of frozen varieties at Asian markets like Joong Boo and H Mart, that is.

Typically made with azuki red bean paste, the cones are soft and waffle-like in texture, but not as sweet. The word “Taiyaki” means “baked sea bream” in Japanese.

Mini Mott’s sweet cones are made with the traditional red bean paste and filled with your choice of unique soft serve ice cream like vanilla bean infused with Osmanthus flower topped with pink peppercorn and fresh mint.

For brunch, the burger joint is also serving up savory cones filled with chive and bacon scrambled eggs — a twist on the Taiyaki trend not typically found in Asian countries, Kim said.

The cones are personal for Kim and her brother, Edward, chef/co-owner at Mini Mott. The Korean-American siblings grew up eating them on their annual family trips to Korea, she said.

“You’d see steam coming off the street cart, and we’d be like, ‘OK, we’re going to that one right now.’ And our parents would know that was the first street food we’d want,” Kim said.

So far, the cones, which cost $5.95, have been well-received in Logan Square, according to Kim.

“We’re thankful. It’s fun to introduce people to something we’re excited about,” she said.

At one point, the folks behind the new Chinese-inspired brewpub, Bixi Beer, were going to serve Taiyaki cones, too.

Bixi’s official account posted a photo in mid-July of someone biting into a fish-shaped cone in the restaurant with a comment that read, “Thai chai ice cream, cardamom scented fish cones!!”

Responding to a commenter who asked if a collaboration with Mini Mott was in the works, the official account responded: “no, apparently we are just thinking in the same vein! Bought the machine 6 months ago from Hong Kong.”

But on Monday one of the managers told Block Club Chicago that chef/owner Bo Fowler has since decided against serving the cones as to not oversaturate the neighborhood with them.