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Usagiya Dorayaki: I first learned of the Japanese snack Dorayaki from Doraemon, a cartoon for kids about a robot cat whose favorite snack is the red-bean filled pancake. Since watching Doraemon as a child, I've enjoyed eating Dorayaki in the states mostly from the refrigerated aisle of grocery stores, where the packets always contain silica gel to maintain freshness. I was excited to try freshly made ones at Usagiya, a famous confectionary shop in Ueno specializing in this dessert. For a little under two d... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 dorayaki usagiya redbean desserts ueno japanese
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Gua Maral Sea Berry Lactis: Purchased this miniature bottle of juice from the Tsukuba train station at a shop dedicated to local products. From the illustration, I gather that it's sea-buckthorn juice, and it was super tart and a little milky, almost like a yogurt drink in consistency. I've had sea-buckthorn a few times, mostly at Nordic shops and restaurants, and it has a very unique sour flavor. I love it, but I can also see how it might not be to everyone's taste. Would want to have it with breakfast every day, per... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 lactis berry sea guamaral japanese berries seabuckthorn juice recommended
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Oiwake Dango Strawberry mochi: Before I moved, I tried looking up in advance all the best specialty snack shops in Tokyo, but since arriving, I've found a better strategy is just wandering around and seeing where the lines are. This small confectionary shop in Shinjuku specializes in various types of dango, or mochi. I purchased a pale pink one that unexpectedly contained a whole strawberry as well as red bean. The mochi was very pillowy yet chewy, the strawberry a little tart and not particularly sweet. Overall, I enjoye... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 mochi strawberry oiwakedango shinjuku japanese recommended
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Mont Thabor Turtle melon pan: I stopped by a bakery on my way to the train station and stumbled upon turtle melon-pan, which some may remember was the original avatar of Tasty Snacking until I designed my own. Having never seen one in person, I had to try it. The bread has a fairly standard dinner roll flavor, which is to say pretty neutral, while the "shell" of the turtle is sweet and reminiscent of Chinese pineapple bun, though less rich. It doesn't taste like melon (I believe it's called that for its appearance rather... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 pan melon turtle montthabor bread bakery japanese recommended
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Hori Milk Soriflora Soy Yogurt: This probiotic yogurt is soybean based and has a definite non-dairy texture (slightly more set and a little grainy compared to normal yogurt). It does have a pleasantly sweet soy milk flavor and is on the sweet side but fairly neutral otherwise. 3.0/5.0

3.0 yogurt soy soriflora horimilk soymilk japanese Daiei
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Chicha Matcha Crepe Cake: After a long day, I decided to treat myself with dessert at this Montreal-based Taiwanese cafe that serves savory entrées, desserts, and beverages. They have a variety of flavored crepe cakes, but I went for the matcha, which was about $6 a slice - pretty pricy. I did enjoy it, though - it had many layers of eggy crepe, and the creme was not overly rich. The matcha powder was quite bitter, and the dessert overall was not very sweet. The best part was definitely the mix of chewy crepe and ... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 cake crepe matcha chicha dessert montreal recommended