Attached to the Lotteria fast-food restaurant in Nakano’s Sun Road shopping street is a special stall selling a special bear-shaped treat. They make a taiyaki variant shaped like Lotte’s famous Koara no Machi (“Koala’s March”) cookie snack, called “Koara no Machi Yaki.” The regular flavors on offer err on the side of traditional fillings — red bean past, custard cream — but they’ve also introduced a special autumn offering.
The spot’s new Hokkaido pumpkin treat packs the cuddly looking bear face full of squash-flavored cream. Available until the start of November, this sweet (¥180 for one) reflects the taste of autumn, and is best eaten right after the cashier hands it to you.
The filling offers a semi-sweet taste that carries a subtle hint of the titular food, a welcome change of pace from the overly artificial attempts at pumpkin that abound at this time of year (we see you, pumpkin spice).
The highlight, though, comes from the baked part holding the orange innards within. This outside offers a nice sugary taste that doesn’t go overboard, and mixes just right with the pumpkin.
Overall, a fine fall treat worth the trip out to Nakano.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5