During your visits to Japan, there must be moments when you feel hungry and want to grab a quick snack on the go, or you want to buy a small item for breakfast the next day. Japan offers some delicious sweet bread that you can get at the supermarket or the convenience store nearby. They are cheap (usually between 90 to 140yen) and packaged so you can easily bring it with you when you’re on your way to the next destination.
From my experiences of purchasing and tasting all kinds of supermarket bread, I’ve picked out the top 5 that are delicious and commonly available, so you too can try it out for yourself.
Honourable Mention: Ma-la-gao
I have to give a shout-out to this little treat. The Chinese-origin sweet steamed cake is both affordable and delicious, but unfortunately not so easy to find in Japan. It is one of the rare “Chinese food” items in Japan that taste authentic. Hunt these down, toss it into the microwave for 10-20 seconds, and enjoy these mini fluffy Chinese cakes!
5. Butter Cookie Sticks
These guys are a guilty pleasure, and they are delicious both toasted and not. The sweet cookie on top of the twisted pastry is reminiscent of the sweet layer you find on melon-bread. First eat one and you will pick up another. Good news is that this is very easy to share; bad news is that you will probably want to have these all to yourself.
4. Hokkaido Steamed Cheesecake
The easy-to-eat steamed cheesecake is excellent because of its tasty and soft texture. Slightly moist and cheesy, this affordable delicacy will satisfy you but won’t get in the way when you are about to enjoy other Japanese street foods. The shape of Hokkaido printed on the cake itself is a big plus!
3. Kuro Koppepan
For something more traditional, the long-seller kuro koppe, or “black bread roll” is a classic loved by many. This brown-sugar infused bread roll is sandwiching cream in the middle, and the combination of the two different kinds of sweetness match perfectly into something we don’t find in modern sweet breads. Japanese schools still often serve koppepan during lunch time, just without the cream, so have a taste of Japanese nostalgia!
This is a personal favourite of mine, as another long-time seller that I’ve been eating since I was in kindergarten in Hong Kong. While the name might not sound as appealing to English speakers, the soft and lengthy toasted bread is filled with a sweet margarine that is out of the world. A very straight forward formula, and after all these years, it’s still my go-to for a quick breakfast or a travelling snack.
1. Shizuoka Crown Melon Bread
Of course, what tops the chart has to be the famous melon bread, but that’d be a boring finale and this isn’t just any ordinary melon bread. When you’re on the search, go seek out one of these Shizuoka Crown Melon Breads. In addition to the fruit-shaped cookie coating on top that gives the bread its name, this iteration of the classic is filled with an orange-colour cream that is made using melon juice. The extra flavour the cream brings in makes the melon bread the best “melon” you can purchase without putting a hole in your wallet, and definitely the best choice you can grab off the shelf.
So there you have it! You might think that you should be eating rice balls all the time because you’re in Japan, but the truth is that the cheap bread available in supermarkets aren’t choices to scoff at. Here are only 5 (or 6) to start with, and with all the new selections rolling out all the time, they will definitely surprise and satisfy you!