Gooey and golden brown, French toast is a versatile food that can be eaten for breakfast with a dollop of syrup or for lunch with a glob of ketchup. Now trending in Japan, according to an online article in Peachy, French toast is an increasingly popular menu item. But, of course, the Japanese have their own inimitable take on the traditional recipe: From over-the-top toppings to unusual secret ingredients, it’s being altered in a variety of creative ways to suit the demanding palates of modern Japanese.
To sample the cutting edge of this new cuisine trend, head to Harajuku. Pain Petit Pas opened last year in a space that resembles the insanely popular crepe stalls that can be found all around the teen-shopping mecca. A tiny establishment that offers up a Disneyfied version of French chic, breakfast is the traditional syrup-covered French toast, but it gets really creative at lunch time with toppings of salmon and cream cheese, bacon, or sour cream. The secret of their delicious toast is marinating the bread for one whole day in the egg and milk mix. No doubt they took their cue from Hotel Okura’s recipe, rated the best French toast in Tokyo by B! Hatena News.
The dipping mix is also being altered by Japanese chefs cooking at home. In 2009, a recipe for mayo French toast appeared on Cookpad. The recipe swaps out eggs in favour of mayo, advising chefs to mix it in as much as possible with the milk before letting the bread marinate in the mix. The resulting meal has been rated as surprisingly tasty by many visitors to the site. “I’ve made this tons of times for breakfast. The children also eat lots of it,” writes user Rindeorinsu. While the idea of hot mayo may not be too appealing to Westerners, it’s worth noting that mayo is a popular pizza topping in Japan.
Another new take on French toast is being served up at the Fujiko F Fujiko Museum in Kawasaki. The museum, which opened for business in September last year, is dedicated to the creator of the popular comic book Doraemon and contains a ton of Doraemon-themed attractions. One, according to Biglobe News, is the Ankipan French Toast served in the museum’s cafe. In the cartoon, the bespectacled hero Nobuta eats some magical anikipan (“memorizing bread”) instead of studying for his exams. Served with ice cream and chocolate sauce, the ankipan in the cafe has equations seared onto its surface, just like the magical treat in the cartoon.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, possibly the most outrageous French toast dessert is served up at Loncafe in Enoshima. Toppings on offer include ice cream, apple pie, caramel banana and mango. For birthdays, they’ll even stick a few sparklers into these over-the-top desserts.
Photo credit: dreamcat115 (CC BY-SA 2.0)