Photography by Daniel Walker.

Ice Cream

Cool Off With Cocohodo’s Taiyaki Ice Cream

And take an Instagram while you're at it.

If your Instagram feed looks anything like mine, scrolling through on an empty stomach can be risky business. When hunger’s got a hold of you and you’re welcomed by a barrage of drool-inducing shots of what everyone else is munching on, it’s just too tempting to drop everything and cram your face full of whatever the latest Insta-craze might be.

One particular item—which is making waves on social media across the country—has finally found a home in Dallas. Well, in Carrollton to be exact. The Japanese-style fish cake known as “taiyaki” has held the attention of trendy food enthusiasts for months now. In particular, taiyaki ice cream shops are popping up in big cities from coast to coast.

“Taiyaki” loosely translates to “fried (or baked) fish,” and its origins can be traced back hundreds of years to Japan’s Edo period between the 1600s-1800s. The small fish-shaped cakes were originally filled with sweet red bean paste, which continues to be popular in many Asian countries today. Luckily, these little fish decided to swim over to America.

If you’re aching to get your hands on taiyaki ice cream, you’ll need to head to Cocohodo in Carrollton’s “Little Korea” neighborhood near the intersection of the George Bush Turnpike and Old Denton Rd. This tiny shop could easily be overlooked in the whirlwind of Korean shops, restaurants, and bakeries. It sits inconspicuously and unassuming in the far corner of the square, but believe me, hunting it down is well worth your time.

You’ll see Cocohodo’s taiyaki ice cream menu above the register as soon as you walk in. Choose a soft-serve ice cream flavor to fill your fish cake; options include vanilla, chocolate, or green tea. Then choose an additional filling which will also be slathered around the interior of the cake prior to insertion of the ice cream; options here include the aforementioned sweet red bean paste, Nutella (because, who’s going to argue with Nutella), and a creamy, yellow custard. Lastly, choose from a myriad of toppings which include chocolate sauce, sprinkles, honey drizzle, marshmallows, mochi bits, caramel, strawberries, and graham crackers.

As you might expect, the magic is in the fish cake. Yes, the ice cream is excellent, the toppings are abundant and allow you to customize to your heart’s content. But it’s that darn fish cake that will keep you yearning for more. The golden cake is crispy on the outside, but has a softer, chewy texture at its interior. It’s served warm, which means you can’t waste time eating the soft ice cream, but the contrast of temperatures is simply an additional point of pleasure. I’m partial to filling the cake with the custard option, which gives an added creaminess to the concoction, but the Nutella is no slouch either.

You’ll probably feel out of place here if you’re not snapping a picture of your ice cream with your phone. Sure, you may get a little melted ice cream run-off on your outstretched hand as you struggle to get the perfect shot of that adorable fish cake, but it’s time well spent. You’re guaranteed to gain at least 50 Instagram followers with a single taiyaki post.