2020 NO.28

Tokyo: The Ultimate Gourmet Experience


Tokyo’s Unique Culture of Bread

Ever since the culture of bread spread in Japan in the 19th century, Tokyo has been the birth place of unique varieties of bread that do not exist anywhere in the Western world. They have become a deeply-rooted part of Japan’s food culture, remaining to this day unchanged in appearance, yet always improving in flavor. Enjoy a taste of Tokyo’s good old, brand new breads.

Photos: Kurihara Osamu

(introduced in 1874 by Ginza Kimuraya)

Anpan is a classic Japanese bread with a sweet red bean paste filling. Made with sakadane (yeast mash cultured in a mixture of rice malt and water), the bread dough has a distinctively sour yet subtly sweet flavor and soft texture.

Korokke bread
(introduced in 1927 by Choshiya)

Korokke is the Japanese word for a croquette made by mixing minced meat and chopped onions with mashed potato, rolling it in bread crumbs, and deep-frying it. Korokke bread is made by sandwiching such a croquette in a half-sliced bun.

Yakisoba bread
(introduced in the 1950s by MARUJU)

Yakisoba bread is a sandwich featuring yakisoba—noodles fried with meat and vegetables and seasoned with a special sauce—served in the slit of a partially sliced soft bun. It is said to have originated from breads sold in downtown Tokyo, where the first bread with fried noodles was sold in the 1950s. The spindle-shaped soft buns, too, are an original Japanese type of bread created in 1919.

Fruit sandwich
(Nihonbashi Sembikiya-Sohonten, Ltd.)

Juicy fresh fruits, such as strawberries and papaya, are embedded in lightly sweetened whipped cream and sandwiched between two slices of bread.

Jam bread
(introduced in 1900 by Ginza Kimuraya)

Nowadays, jam bread is usually made with strawberry jam, but the original product had a filling of apricot jam. The sweet yet tart apricot flavor of the jam goes well with the taste of the bread dough.

Turtle bread
(introduced in 1958 by Ginza Kimuraya)

While bread shaped as manga and anime characters remains extremely popular in Japan to this day, the origins of this classic Japanese bun can be traced back to the turtle bread. The abundant lineup of animal-shaped buns also includes crab bread and octopus bread.

Curry bread
(introduced in the 1920s by Cattlea)

Curry bread is a fried, curry-filled dough food. Covered in bread crumbs, then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside, it is voluminous and usually made with mild-flavored Japanese curry.