May 10, 2013

Japanese bread that I want to recommend ②:anpan

Have you seen a Japanese TV cartoon series "Soreike! Anpanman (Go! Anpanman)"? Anpanman is probably the most popular fictional character among small children in Japan. As his indicates, he is a super hero who has a head of あんぱん(ampan), a sweet bun filled with sweetened bean paste called あんこ (anko).

Here is the image that I found in the official website .


He flies in the sky and beats evils, like Superman, but this Japanese cartoon character may be even more heroic than the American counterpart in a way. He is amazingly selfless, and when he sees starving people he offers them his bread head!! Don't worry, he will not die but just lose some of his physical strength, and Uncle Jam the baker will repair his head later. Very strange, but kids take it as a matter of course. 

A true anpan looks like this. This is the anpan I bought the other day at my neighboring bakery.

I cut it in two to show you the inside...

Unfortunately many Westerners don't like anko so much, but if you like Chinese sweets using same type of bean paste, I'm sure you'll like anpan as well.

Anpan was "invented" in 1874 by a former samurai/first Japanese baker Yasubei Kimura, and spread all over the country. It is now available everywhere and loved by people of all generations.

Kimura's shop, called Kimuraya, still exists in the classy shopping district Ginza (4-5-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. tel: 3561-0091 ), close to the Ginza-Yonchome Crossing. You can buy their delicious anpan on the first floor, and there are a cafe and restaurants on the upper floors of the building.

Today's useful expression: あんぱん ひとつ ください。 Anpan hitotsu kudasai.
Please give me an anpan.

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