Sweets! I haven’t really spoken much about sweets outside of taiyaki and momiji manju, but Japan is abundant in sweets. This is particularly interesting because Japan didn’t originally have sugar back in the day. They had to find other forms of sweetening foods for desserts, such as anko(more on that next Wednesday). Yet, now that sugar is readily available, their sweets industry seems to have exploded exponentially.
I can’t even count the number of soft-serve ice cream shops, crepe stores, and bakeries there were lining the streets of Japan. Yet, I didn’t try any of them. Why? Because I can get that food back home. I wanted to try more unique foods and while wandering the streets of Harajuku, I found out: croquant, which is technically a french word, but that makes sense. It seems a lot of the bakeries in Japan are inspired by France and the French-style.
At first glance, this dessert snack looks like a Mexican churro, but don’t let them fool you. The visual cues is where the similarities end. Where a churro is often soft and chewy, the croquant has a hard, crunchy exterior(hence ‘croquant’ which translated from French means ‘crunchy’). And while a churro often has a spongy interior, a croquant is first hollowed out with a drill and then filled with warm cream (like in a Polish pazcki or American donut) right in front of you. The whole process was rather fascinating and you get to watch all of it through the glass of the store while waiting in line. (Something to entertain people as the two girls behind the counter slave away with orders.)
There’s even a cold option for those of you looking for something on a hot day (like it was when I stopped in this shop). Instead of a croquant with cream, you can also get vanilla soft serve ice cream rolled in croquant crust kind of like how Americans roll ice cream in peanuts or syrup. The best of both worlds and what a unique treat while walking the streets of Harajuku. Though… my croquant didn’t last very long. :p Good thing I was only there for a day. Haha!