Fruit Sandwiches: A Form of Sandwich that Evolved in a Unique Way in Japan

   Sandwiches are prepared by putting vegetables, meat, and many other ingredients in between two slices of bread. Sandwiches are well-known around the world, but did you know that they have evolved in a unique way in Japan? Among the varieties of sandwiches that originated in Japan, fruit sandwiches are very popular with young people because they are filled with juicy fruits and they look beautiful too. This article showcases some examples of fruit sandwiches, a type of sandwich that took a unique course of evolution in Japan.

A History of Sandwiches in Japan

   People started to eat sandwiches in Japan in the late 1800s. Until then, Japan had shut itself off from the outside world, and enforced strong restrictions on trade and diplomacy with countries overseas. However, Japan opened its borders in 1854 due to political changes, and this brought active exchange with the west. Through this mixing of people, western food culture entered Japan, and so people in Japan came to learn about sandwiches.
   Sandwiches grew in popularity in Japan when a western-style food store from Kanagawa Prefecture sold Japan’s first sandwich Ekiben at Ofuna Station in 1892. Ekiben means a Bento (box lunch) that is eaten when riding a train during a journey. The great taste and novelty of sandwiches made them an instant hit. In the present day, sandwiches are familiar to everyone, both young and old, as a regular item at restaurants and cafés.

The first sandwich Ekiben was sold at a store called Ofuna-ken. These sandwiches are still sold today, and are met with strong support from customers.

Beautiful Fruit Sandwiches Are a Hot Topic

   Fruit sandwiches are one type of sandwich that evolved in a unique way in Japan. These sandwiches are made by putting fresh fruit and whipped cream in between two slices of bread. It is thought that fruit sandwiches originated in a café in Kyoto or in a long-running fruit snack store in Japan, though there are other theories as well.
   Fruit sandwiches are currently a hit among young people in Japan. There are three secrets behind their popularity: they are easy to eat, healthy, and beautiful.
   Fruit sandwiches have a sweet, delicious taste, and you can hold them in one hand to eat them, without needing a plate or fork like when eating a cake. This makes them easy to enjoy as a dessert or a light meal.
   Also, they contain lots of fruits, so they have gained popularity as an easy-to-eat food that offers lots of vitamins and other nutrients. A wide variety of fruits are used in fruit sandwiches in many different ways. Some sandwiches have one type of fruit included whole, while others have a diverse range of flavors with many different fruits included together. There are different types of bread used in these sandwiches. Apart from regular sliced bread, some sandwiches use raisin bread or croissants. Also, instead of whipped cream, some varieties of sandwich include mascarpone cream or yogurt. There are many highly original fruit sandwiches, and each one is full of creativity.
   What’s more, the sandwiches look like beautiful works of art when cut, as they are filled with fruits of many different shades. These colorful and cute fruit sandwiches are photogenic, so you see many pictures of them posted on Instagram.
   Following this surge in popularity, there are more and more dedicated stores for fruit sandwiches in recent years. You can buy them from many other stores too, including snack stores that sell fruit, cafés, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

“Daiwa Super” is popular for its fruit sandwiches with large portions. Each sandwich is about 2 inches thick. These fruit sandwiches use plenty of fruits from the season, such as strawberries in spring, mangos in summer, muscat grapes in fall, and apples in the winter. Apart from their great taste, you are sure to be excited by their wonderful appearance.

Fruit sandwiches have been on the menu for many years at “Nihonbashi Sembikiya-Sohonten,” a long-running store in Japan. These sandwiches have a refined flavor, combining four kinds of fruits (strawberries, kiwi fruits, papayas, and pineapples) with whipped cream that is not too sweet.
Image provided by Sembikiya-Sohonten, Ltd.

The fruit sandwiches at a long-established café called “Shiseido Parlour Salon de Café” in Ginza, Tokyo use raisin bread.These juicy fruit sandwiches filled with seasonal fruits have a somewhat mature taste to them.
Image provided by Shiseido Parlour Co., Ltd.

Many people enjoy making fruit sandwiches by hand, too. Some like to create flowers or other patterns with the fruits. These fruit sandwiches look like works of art, and are almost too beautiful to eat.

Sandwiches That Let You Enjoy Uniquely Japanese Fillings

   There are many other uniquely Japanese sandwiches apart from fruit sandwiches. Some sandwiches let you enjoy fillings that can only be found in Japan, and they are particularly well-loved by many Japanese people as they offer a familiar flavor.
   “Anko sandwiches” feature Anko, a traditional Japanese food made by boiling azuki beans with sugar to make a sweet paste. You can eat these sandwiches as a dessert, as they are sweet like Wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets. You can make these sandwiches even more sweet and satisfying by using whipped cream, butter, fruits, or other ingredients together with the Anko.

The dark-colored paste is Anko, a traditional Japanese food. These Japanese-style sandwiches are filled with cream mixed with matcha (a time-honored variety of Japanese tea), as well as strawberries and Anko.

   Sandwiches with thick Japanese rolled omelets are appealing, as they look huge and they have an intricate flavor.

Japanese rolled omelets are made by mixing eggs with “Dashi” (extracts from fish, seaweed, and other ingredients), and frying the mixture. These omelets are a good match for moist, soft sliced bread.

   Many people in Japan have fun at mealtimes with sandwiches that feature creative fillings. Japan’s sandwiches are sure to continue to spread around the world.