When it comes to food, some of the most unique culinary creations found in Japan aren’t limited to high-end restaurants, but can be found in the humble convenience store or supermarket. Often they no longer resemble the original inspiration in terms of appearance, but are also distinguished by their rich and interesting flavor combinations.
When most people think of “bread,” a vision of baguettes, rolls, or sandwiches usually comes to mind. In Japan, these common varieties are joined by a unique genus known as souzai pan (“pan” being the word for bread in Japanese). Although they can be found virtually everywhere in Japan, since the souzai pan blend so well with their common counterparts, most are not immediately recognized by foreign visitors. But if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll discover how bread is as much food as it is an artistic medium.
1. Pizza bread
Imagine a conveniently sized pizza just for 100 yen, but without the messy sauce or runny cheese – that’s the concept behind pizza bread in Japan! It almost tastes like pizza and since it comes packaged in a pouch, it’s a very portable snack for on the go. Once in a while, you can even see a delicious homemade version of it – pizza toast – in local cafes and restaurants. Eaten cold or grilled hot, pizza bread can really hit the mark. Varieties can range from the standard tomato sauce with cheese to a more unique blend of tuna and mayonnaise.
2. Yakisoba Sandwich
Fried noodles in a hot dog bun! When traveling in Japan, you may notice people snacking on it at lunchtime, especially in parks or outside convenience stores. Although the taste of the noodle sandwiches might be a little hard to imagine, there is definitely some magic going on between the flavorful yakisoba and the light sweetness of the bread that makes them taste surprisingly good!
You will not only find yakisoba sandwiches in Japan, but also Naporitan – a version containing spaghetti, ketchup or tomato sauce, as well as onions, mushrooms and other vegetables.
3. Curry bread
Visitors to Japan are often surprised at how much the Japanese love curry. It is perhaps one of the favorite foods of Japanese children and a number of varieties have developed over the decades, including the curry donut. People outside of Japan would probably wonder why the Japanese would take a spicy dish and place it in a sweet pastry. This is precisely where culinary creativity meets innovation: the curry filling tends to be milder, while the fried shells tend to be savory, resulting in a wonderful marriage of flavor and texture. Once you taste one, you’ll love it too!
4. Melon Bread
While strolling through a convenience store, a supermarket or a shopping street, you will undoubtedly come across a bread whose outer texture is reminiscent of that of pineapple, often coated with sugar granules. It is the almighty melon bread that is very popular as a treat for children and adults. Not only does it have a slight honeydew melon flavor, but it has a somewhat crispy crust and tender interior. These days, there are varieties made with maple syrup or whipped cream that are especially popular with children. Particularly in the colder months, stores may even serve these delicious hot rolls – a recommended indulgence indeed.
5. Chocolate cone bread
Many dessert breads in Japan resemble their namesake, and the chocolate cone is no different. A simple, smooth, slightly sweet loaf that’s filled with a thick, hazelnut chocolate cream, chocolate crowns are popular as a breakfast item or as a mid-afternoon treat at work. These delicious treats can be enjoyed as a dessert or as an evening snack.
Via Japan Live