May 21, 2013
Japanese bread that I want to recommend ③： kare-pan (curry pain) & Melon-pan
If you like curry, I'm sure you'll love カレーパン（curry pan) as well (photo above).
Needless to say, "pan" comes from a Portuguese word for bread. Curry-pan, pronounced karee-pan in Japanese, is a bun stuffed with curry paste. As it is deep-fried like a donut, it is sometimes called カレー・ド-ナッツ (karee-donattsu, curry donuts), but it rather reminds me of Russian snacks pirozhki.
As curry-pan uses no ingredients that are too "interesting"or "exotic" to non-Asians, I think everyone can eat it without hesitation. If you are not allowed to eat pork for the religious reasons, however, you'd better check with someone at the bakery before buying one. You can ask this way: ぶたにくは はいっていますか。 (Buta-niku wa haitte imasuka? Does this contain pork?)
We don't know exactly who "invented" the curry-pan, but it is generally believed that some bakers or restaurant cooks started making it in the early 20th century, when Japanese were becoming familiar with foreign food. Today it is available at almost any bakeries.
The photo above is a melon-pan, a different type of bread that I want to show you.
Melon-pan is a sweet fluffy bun covered with crisp cookie dough. It is called this way because they say it looks like a melon. Ummm... I have never thought it looks like a melon, though.
What about taste? Does it taste like a melon? In recent years, some manufacturers are making melon-flavored melon-pan, but traditionally we add nothing that tastes or smells like a melon to the dough.
Melon pan was believed to have first created in Japan in the beginning of the 20th century, around the World War I. Ever since, they have been popular not only in Japan but also in Taiwan and China. Today, there are even stores specializing in melon-pan, where you can find many different flavors such as chocolate, caramel, orange and strawberry.
Ah, there's one thing I have to say. One melon-pan is about 500 kcal. If you don't want to get fat, don't eat it too much!