Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

Magical Animal may have crafted Tokyo's best pulled pork sandwich

by Robbie Swinnerton

Special To The Japan Times

Everyone loves food trucks and al fresco snacking — especially now that the weather is warming up. There’s nowhere better in the city to combine the two than Commune 246 in Omotesando. This colorful encampment of cafes and food stalls opened last December as the successor to the much-loved 246 Common.

The new incarnation has a smaller footprint, but a strong focus on organic and vegan fare. There are sit-down kiosks serving spicy Thai and Indian food. The excellent Shozo Coffee Store is back and so are the greasily addictive Brooklyn Ribbon Fries. There’s even a great booth selling fermented foods such as miso, amazake (sweet rice drink) and traditional, handmade natto soybeans.

But the most notable new arrival in this neighborhood is just along Aoyama-dori, inside the collection of converted freight containers known as Pop-up@Aoyama, best known for Brimmer Beer Box. Now it’s home to Magical Animal, a self-styled “craft meats” stand specializing in burgers, barbecue and hot dogs.

Longtime Japan resident Jeremy Wilgus runs it with his wife. He’s got some great recipes, including hand-ground burgers topped with home-smoked bacon; basil-rosemary bratwurst made with fresh herbs; and a seriously tasty pulled pork sandwich — especially good with a glass of Brimmer’s pale ale on the side. Sadly, this pop-up will be moving in June. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details of its future location.

Pop-up@Aoyama complex, Box C, 3-8-34 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; www.facebook.com/MagicalAnimal; 080-4109-6059; Open 12-2 p.m. & 5-10 p.m. (Sat., Sun & hols 12-10 p.m.); closed Mon.; Nearest station Omotesando; from ¥850; no credit cards; no smoking; English menu; English spoken.

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