メロンパン- Melon Pan
A type of sweet bun from Japan made from an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie dough. Their appearance resembles a melon, such as a rock melon.
(adopted from wiki)
Baker & Table, a Japanese cafe in East Van, apparently sells the best melon pans in Vancouver...so without further ado let's go carb up!
The overall decor was bright, clean, and cozy with a few homey accents which made the cafe super photogenic. I sat there for a morning and the cafe stayed pretty quite despite considerable customer traffic in & out. It's a great place to do work if you don't get distracted by all the food! (really lost it when staff kept carrying out trays after trays of freshly-baked pastries).
There were 5 flavors available when I visited- matcha red bean, black sesame, ube, custard, and chocolate, and some of them also came with mochi as an additional filling. I decided to go with the most "Japanese" flavours & ones with mochi, since melon pan is a Japanese specialty after all!
(UPDATE: Since I went, they came out with several new flavors + a shiba inu melon pan! Will update this post once I try them out)
1. Matcha red bean
The classic!! This one had a matcha outer layer with red bean paste and mochi filling. The exterior was reminiscent of a matcha shortbread cookie- crispy and buttery with an earthy matcha flavour. The red bean filling had the ideal ratio of red bean chunks to paste, and the mochi was super chewy and bouncy. Even better, both were not overly sweet like typical Japanese red bean mochi from the supermarket, which worked well with the sweet bread. In short, this melon pan was as good as the matcha red bean one I had in Japan; only downside was that they skimped on the amount of filling :(
2. Black sesame
Another Asian favourite! The outside cookie dough layer was more like a normal buttery shortbread cookie with a few sprinkles of sesame seeds. If they incorporated more black sesame elements such as adding black sesame powder to the cookie dough, it would really enhance the appearance & flavour. The inside consisted of a generous amount of airy & light sesame cream and the same not-overly-sweet-chewy-bouncy mochi. Together, they were almost reminiscent of a tang yuan! While this combo is yummy as expected I wished actual sesame paste was used in place of cream to bring out a more prominent sesame taste.
The newest flavor & one I was looking most forward to since I'm a sucker for anything ube! Like the black sesame melon pan, the outside was a plain butter cookie dough but with a few sprinkles of toasted coconut flakes instead of sesame seeds. The inside consisted of ube paste and the same mochi. Contrary to its dangerously alluring purple hue, the ube paste was actually a bit too plain & could definitely be sweeter/more flavourful. The coconut flakes were pretty good compliments, so maybe adding some coconut milk to the ube paste could really help!
- They also have savoury Japanese pastries & small Japanese cakes! There was an okonomiyaki pan which I've never seen anywhere else & I need to try sometimes.
- Drink menu was pretty standard for a coffee shop but I also saw some specialty Asian drinks like black sesame latte- worth a try
- If you are up for the extra calories, I recommend adding a scoop of ice cream to your melon pan- melon pan ice cream sandwich sounds like heaven
Bye for now- time to go fix my major sugar crash after consuming these melon pans!