If you’ve been keeping up with food trends around the world, you’ve definitely heard about the Cronut and all other sorts of 'hybrid' desserts creating buzz from New York to Nairobi. Tokyo's status as the food capital of the world ensures a steady stream of novelty sweets, so we've gone ahead and picked out five of the best Instagram-worthy sugary goodies for spring. Go ahead and start snacking – or opt for some traditional wagashi or a decadent fruit parfait instead.
Five Tokyo Cronut-beaters you should try
Forget the croissant-doughnut – it’s time to move on to the croissant-taiyaki. Taiyaki is a traditional Japanese fish-shaped cake that’s usually filled with red bean paste, but this version by Gindaco adds buttery puff pastry to give it that croissant-like texture. They also offer different fillings such as custard cream and a seasonal strawberry custard flavour. One side of the fish is coated with caramelised and crystallised sugar, giving it an irresistible crunchy outer layer. Visit their Ebisu location if you’re keen to try their triple hybrid: taiyaki croissant ice cream!
Two years of research to create the perfect melonpan has resulted in the launch of Sekai de Niban-me ni Oishii Melonpan (‘The World’s Second Best Melon Bread’). This store’s hybrid treat has a crispy bun with ice cream inside. Might as well call it ‘the world’s best melon bread’, but the owner insists his teacher makes the best.
This is no ordinary anpan (bread filled with red bean paste). It’s a doughnut made from naan bread, caked in panko and baked in a special oven that apparently makes it healthier. Akarimado says their most popular flavour is the red bean paste with mochi-shaped mozzarella, but you should also try the ramune-flavoured bean paste.
Agepan (deep-fried bread) is a staple item in a typical Japanese school lunch, but R-Fritters has elevated it to new levels by making a French toast version. Their rice flour bread is soaked in flavoured egg batter, then deep-fried in rice oil until golden. The inside is chewy and bursting with flavour. Try the green tea flavour paired with their Ogawa coffee, which they grind from beans and brew to order.
Usagiya Café has added a French twist to this classic shiruko (red bean soup) dessert, mixing it with rich cheese. Put a dollop of shiruko fromage on the side of thin monaka wafers and you have the perfect Asian-meets-Western dessert. The hybrid was inspired by the Brazilian trend of combining goiabada (guava jelly) and cheese, and has become one of Usagiya’s most popular treats.