A bread-lovers paradise

Many of you may associate Japan with rice, but you’ll be very surprised when you first come here and enter a supermarket or a konbini (convenience store) and see all the varieties of bread on sale.

I know I was. Even though I don't usually eat bread that much, I was incredibly tempted to try out the assortment of bread types and the multitude of flavors, both sweet and salty, which I saw in the bread corner of my local supermarket.

Compared to Europe, or at least my home country, I feel that the white bread here (called shokupan 食パン) is so much fluffier and bigger. It usually comes in a pack of 5-6 big slices.

Where I'm from, the bread sold in supermarkets is smaller and we usually buy the whole loaf, either pre-sliced or unsliced. It looks more similar to the French baguette, just smaller in size.

However, in Japan, bread is made to suit Japanese preferences. I feel that even the taste is sweeter than the kind I had back home.

As for the varieties, it is generally harder to find rye bread or whole wheat bread, not to mention gluten-free bread in Japan compared to other countries. However, Japan is a bread-lovers paradise thanks to the incredible selection and the unique but delicious flavors you'll find.

In this article, I've tried to pick the best seven options that are equally popular among Japanese and foreigners:

Melon Pan (メロンパン)

Melon Pan or Melon Bread has the appearance of a melon, hence the name. Many of you are probably familiar with it because sometimes you can often see it in anime or Japanese dramas.

The bread is very sweet, but it doesn’t taste like melon. However, there are so many flavors depending on where you buy it and some melon pans have melon cream inside to match its appearance. Some are crispier than others on the surface and the interior is so fluffy and sweet that it melts in your mouth.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

I like buying mini melon pans with melon flavor or maple flavor from supermarkets like Belc or Yaoko Market because they're easier to eat and I just love their texture and flavor.

Red Bean Paste Bread (Anpan アンパン) 

Anpan is also a very popular type of bread in Japan. It's filled with red bean paste. I like wagashi (Japanese sweets) a lot, so I knew from the very beginning that I would also like this bread. It is very soft and the sweet red bean paste gives it a Japanese flavor, so I find it a very interesting match.

If you like Anpan, I am sure you will also love Mame Pan (Bean bread), which are filled with sweet beans and taste delicious. Both are a great match for green tea, so I recommend trying them if you are coming to Japan.

Cream Bread (Kurīmu Pan クリームパン)

Cream bread is another popular variety in Japan. You can find them in packs of 4 or 5 and they're usually quite small.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

I also like the chocolate cream version. Depending on the time of year you arrive, you'll find seasonal flavors such as sweet potato, pumpkin, and so on.

Curry Bread (Karē Pan カレーパン)

Curry bread can be quite heavy on the stomach because it is a deep-fried bun filled with curry. Nevertheless, I find them delicious and unique. Especially if you're a fan of curry or deep-fried foods, I am sure you will find this combination perfect.

Yakisoba Bread (Yakisoba Pan 焼きそばパン)

I was puzzled when I first saw this bread on a TV show before coming to Japan. I found it so weird to have both bread and yakisoba noodles at once. Just like with curry bread, you get two for one. What was interesting to me was the appearance.

It seemed fun to give it a try, so I did in the first week I came to Japan as an exchange student. The yakisoba was a bit spicy and to be honest, I didn’t feel the bread that much. The yakisoba flavor was so powerful, but it had an interesting texture.

You should try it once and see how it is for you. You can also choose an okonomiyaki pan if you are into such kinds of unique combinations.

Coppe Pan コッペパン

Coppe Pan has a long history in Japan and, for many Japanese people, it evokes a very 懐かしいnatsukashī (nostalgic) feeling because they are frequently served in school lunches. It looks like a hot dog bun and can be filled with tonkatsu, jam, butter, or any other filling that you like.

Pork Cutlet Sandwich (katsu sando カツサンド)

Katsu Sando are made with white bread and tonkatsu (pork cutlets). I feel that they are one of the most filling sandwiches you can find in Japan.

So, those are my seven top picks of Japanese breads.

You can find many more types of sandwiches (even sweet sandwiches with whipped cream and fruits), so I recommend trying them out.

Most of them can be found in supermarkets and konbinis in Japan. Please let me know which one you’d like to try or which one is you prefer.

My personal favorite is melon pan. How about you?

By - cinnamonellie.