Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Haagen-Dazs winter limited ice-cream (JAPAN)

Merry be-lated Christmas everyone. 

It has been once in a while since I've post as I've been very busy with classes. And.. Thank to my stupidness, today is the worst day in a long while for me, I went to the nearest convenient store to search for something to brighten my days. Thankfully, I found exactly two cups of Haagen-Dazs to make that happen. 



Now, this is Haagen-Dazs new Special Edition's "Opera flavor". This cup of ice-cream is special alright, as it costed me 420 yen. If I haven't been so intrigued with whether it would be quite cake-like, or ice-cream like, I would have never purchased it. The price is outrageous in my opinion.


 After peeling off the seal, this is what you get. So far, so good. I love how it is exactly like the picture on the lid, down to the sprinkles of gold. This shiny black layer is made from coffee syrup. It was on a bitter side, which is a good combination for the sweet buttercream ice-cream.

While the bottom part is the chocolate sauce, which wasn't too sweet. I think overall the three layer was a great combination. It really did reminded me of Opera cake. The only thing I can really comment on is my preference for more chocolate sauce on the bottom layer. 

My second cup of indulgent was the "mascarpone strawberry" flavor. 


I was really happy with this flavor, and think that they should make it a permanent flavor. I could taste a tad of cherry brandy in it. There were lots of strawberry pieces in the ice-cream as well, which was very pleasing. I hate eating ice-cream, which has "strawberry" on the label, yet there is no hint of strawberry in it, only to see it through the pink color.

 It's very similar to the brand's original strawberry ice-cream flavor, with a twist, the cherry brandy. Definitely an adult strawberry ice-cream. This was around half the price of the Opera flavor.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rikuro Ojisan's Baked Cheesecake (+ instruction on how to get to Rikuro Ojisan shop in Osaka Station)

Since (hopefully) I will be visiting Osaka soon, I thought I would review something from Osaka.

Walking around Osaka Station, it is often that you would see a white paper bag with the name, 'Rikuro Ojisan'/リクローおじさんの店' being carried around, or carried on top of a suitcase. I never really thought about the white bag, or got curious enough to go find the source of the white bags, when I went to Osaka before a friend introduced it to me. But after tasting it, I wish I've gotten curious, and looked for the shop all those years ago. Now, I buy them every time I go back to Osaka. ^_^


Looking at it, it's just a normal fluffy, baked cheesecake, but don't be fool by it. The texture is so smooth, and soft, I seriously felt like I was in heaven after a third bite. The good thing about it is that it is not too sweet, like the others I've tried, so you literary can eat the whole thing without getting sick. (Yes, I've eaten the whole cake at once before.) The best thing about this cake is that it has raisins at the bottom of it, and I think it gives the cake 'a lift' in terms of flavor, as without it, you only would be getting one flavor of the creamy cream cheese cake. Oh yes, and another GREAT thing about this cake is its price. It costs only 588 yen per 18cm diameter of this awesomely delicious cheesecake.

However, the bad news is... It's only available in Osaka and Kobe. So, if you're in the area, or are planning to visit Kansai, definitely give this cake a try.

I would love to say that this is a great sweets to take home (overseas), but sadly, the cake expires fairly quickly (3 days), so it might not be such a good idea.


There are many stores around Osaka, such as Daimaru Umeda, Namba, JR Shin-Osaka Station, and so on. Oh, and there's a store in Sokou Kobe as well.

For further information, please visit Rikuro Ojisan's homepage.

UPDATE: For tourists, I think the best place you can purchase Rikuro Ojisan's cheesecake is at Osaka Station. So.. 

HERE'S AN INSTRUCTION ON HOW TO GET TO RIKURO OJISAN SHOP IN DAIMARU UMEDA (in OSAKA STATION) - Takes around 4 minutes to get to the shop from Osaka Station's central gate



1. Once you get out of the ticket barrier/gate, access Daimaru Umeda from 2nd floor. (where you got out from the ticket gate)
2. Once you got out of the ticket gate, turn right, and the building should be right in front of you. Then, get onto B1 floor (B1F), and make your way to the West Building. Please note that on B1 floor of Daimaru Department Store, there are two separate buildings (separated by a large walkway). The easiest way is to observe from the shops around you, if the shops sell Western confectionaries and cakes, then you're in the right building, if you're surrounded by sushi, lunch box, then you're in the wrong building. OR ask for the direction from the staffs (any shop is fine).. You can ask them 'Nishi biru wa doko desuka?' (西ビールはどこですか?) It's not the best way to ask the question, but for foreigners, I think this question is manageable. Then, they should give you the hand gesture for directions.

The picture below should help you to gain better understanding of the B1 floor.


(credit: edited from picture on Daimaru's website)

3. Once you're in Daimaru's West Building, find the Rikuro Ojisan's shop, that looks like the picture below. If you enter West Building from East Building, the shop should directly be in front of you.

 (credit: picture taken from Rikuro Ojisan website)

The picture above is the map of Daimaru's B1 West building floor, Rikuro Ojisan is the shop in bright red.

ALSO, there is an Information Center on 2nd floor of Osaka Station where you can ask for directions if you're unsure of how to get to the shop. 

I know this is not the clearest instruction, but I hope it will help. If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment below.

For those who aren't planning to travel to Japan anytime in the near future, you can try to make these at home. I have not tried to make these myself, but I have read various of blogs that offers the recipe, and by looking at the reviews, it's definitely worth trying. However, currently, I have a small portable oven, which cannot bake cakes that will grow fairly tall, as the top of the cake will turn black before it's done cooking. So, if you dare to try, please visit these blogs.

http://www.thelittleteochew.com/2011/03/japanese-cheesecake-tips-tricks.html
http://tofoodwithluv.blogspot.jp/2012/06/light-and-creamy-japanese-cheesecake.html
http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2011/02/japanese-cheesecake-fluffy-creamy.html#.UIlW645Qq0s
http://nasilemaklover.blogspot.jp/2011/04/japanese-cotton-cheese-cake-encore.html



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lotte's Coconut Ice-cream

Summer holiday is coming to an end for students in Japan. I came back to Japan two weeks ago, and on my way back to Beppu, I made a pit stop in Fukuoka for a day. Luckily, while I was in town, Asia Pacific Festival Fukuoka 2012 was taking place. At the festival, there were number of booths promoting tourism of a specific country as well as selling food.


Being a sweet junkie, I couldn't help walking around, looking for a new sweet to try. The Cambodian booth caught my eye, as they were selling coconut ice-cream that is in a coconut shell. It was something that is of course, quite common in my country, but not here in Japan. Knowing that a 400 yen ice-cream is pretty extreme, yet I couldn't help myself. When the staff were opening the ice-cream package, I noticed that Lotte was written on the box, and after a quick search on the internet, I found out that indeed, Lotte does sell coconut ice-cream!


The ice-cream was pretty creamy, but that's what coconut ice-cream is about. However, the creaminess is definitely different from the ones I'm used to eat in Thailand. Japan's coconut ice-cream is much more thicker, with quite a strong smell of jasmine. It is a prefect treat for summer temperature. The price of 400 yen, however is a bit extreme for me. I strongly recommend this for those who loves coconut milk!

The ice-cream is available on Lotte's e-shop for 4,410 yen for 10 pieces. However, it's a part of a set with only 2 coconut ice-cream, 5 orange, 1 pineapple, and 2 lemon ice-cream. Looking at the review from the website, it is obvious that the coconut ice-cream is the most popular out of the set.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lawson's Cheesecake (limited edition)

Recently, I have been having a trouble adjusting to the summer in Japan. During winter, I've moved to another apartment, and this new place did not come with air-con in the bedrooms. For winter, it was fine because I own electric blanket, heater(s), and thick duvet. However, for summer, I only have an electric fan!! I literally am dying in the heat day and night. The good thing is I will be heading home soon (HALLELUJAH AIR-CON), and from now till then, I will be in a summer session class everyday from morning till late afternoon, so at least I won't have to suffer from the heat. Anyway....

After watching the CM of Lawson's Cheesecake (ぎゅっとクリームチーズ) for countless of times, I finally drag myself to the nearest Lawson, and brought two pieces of this heavenly delights. 



For a 180 yen a piece, I think it was something that I can see myself buy again and again. The combination between sticky, a tad chewy, sweet biscuit base, and a creamy cream cheese cream, made the whole cake very thick and smooth. It wasn't surprising when I read that (apparently) the top part contain more than 50% of cream cheese.

There is also a chocolate cheesecake flavor that I have yet to try. However, I am not sure if I will ever try them because over a few days of observation, (coming back home empty handed because the cheesecake were sold out) there would be a few left over of the chocolate flavor, while the original flavor were long gone.


Sadly, Lawson is only selling the cheese cake for 21 days, (from July 31st till August 20th) so for those who wants to give it a try, you better hurry up!


2012/10/26 UPDATES: Seems that these cheesecakes are so popular that they're now available for an unlimited amount of time at every Lawson stores in Japan.

Monday, July 2, 2012

ねんりん家バームクーヘンオレンジフォンデンがけ Nenrin's Orange Baumkuchen

Before living in Japan, I have never heard of Baumkuchen in my life, not even when I visited Germany, twice! For those of you who haven't heard of a Baumkuchen, it's in a roll shape, while tens if not hundreds of thin cake layers that originated in Germany, and was introduced to Japan during WWI.




While I was in Tokyo last year, and was particularly in the Ginza area. I noticed that there were a long line of people lining up buying some type of snack in a large department store. Of course, being an obsessive tourist I was, I followed everyone else, and got a piece of this round looking cake from a stand called Nenri-ke.

Personally, I thought it tasted alright, however there was nothing too special about it. It tasted like butter cake, with sugar glance on top of it. It is a good snack to have with a cup of coffee in the morning, but other than that, it didn't 'wow' me. At that time, I did not realize that the baumkuchen I purchased is considered the best in Tokyo.

Fast forwarding a year, my wonderful friend brought back a limited edition of the baumkuchen from the same store I had tasted in the previous year. At first, I was hesitant to try it, because I thought it was exactly the same thing I brought last year. I totally ignored the big orange English words that said 'Straight Baum Orange Fondant'. It wasn't until I opened the package that I realized the differences.


Once opened, I realized that the cake was covered with orange glance, and orange pieces. Cutting it into tiny bits, just because I was still hesitant. After taking the first bite, the orange glance was overwhelming. I have never been a fan of orange glance, nor tangerine flavor, therefore, I couldn't really stand it, at first, of course. On a second bit, I could finally cherish the taste of the orange and the baumkuchen together. It was magnificent. The cake wasn't too sweet, nor too orangey for my taste. It was a perfect combination between a tiny bit of sour and the sweet. It is a perfect snack for an afternoon tea, with earl grey tea.

I am very happy with the outcome of this snack, especially the one that can only be found in Tokyo, and is a limited seasonal version. Checking on the website, it costs 945 for this tiny, yet not so tiny thing. As a snack, I think at least it's enough for 4 people. (Diameter of 17cm.)

For those who may be wandering around Ginza, or is planning to travel to Tokyo, I highly recommend you to try it!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Topvalu's 'imported' vanilla ice-cream (バニラアイスクリーム)



Finally, three-forth of my life as a second year student is over. Finally, I have the needed 4 days holiday. :) However, this also means I have more free time to wander around, go snack shopping, and probably enter MaxValu more than once per day. It never helps with the fact that I can get to the supermarket within 10 minutes by foot, and 5 minutes by bicycle. Recently, I became very addicted to going to MaxValu at night due to the fact that the meat, seafood, and fruits sometimes are sold at half price after 9pm or so.

Oh, if you haven't heard of MaxValu, it's a supermarket owned by Aeon widely available in Japan. I've also heard that they are expanding to countries like Thailand. (MaxValu Thanjai)

Last night, I went on another stroll to MaxValu, and found this 2 litre vanilla ice-cream that has said to be made in New Zealand. My friend and I got really curious about its flavor, and it took us a couple of walking back and forth, and a talk with a friend who just got off his part time shift at the supermarket (who had no clue as he said this product was fairly new). In the end, we decided to take a chance, and brought this 598 yen product.

We rushed home, grab our spoons, and dug in!



The result of this purchase was unexpected. I have to say that the flavor of this 'vanilla ice-cream' is much more like a milk ice-cream. It reminds me of New Zealand's Tip Top Creamy Vanilla from the 2L Tub I used to buy. I wouldn't be surprised if it was made by Tip Top. The ice cream is on the creamy side, but it doesn't make you feel sick even if you had 1/4 of the whole thing. It's definitely worth its' price, and personally, I would buy it again and again, if it doesn't make me fat. (I wish)

Now, all I have to hope for is for MaxValu to import New Zealand's unique ice cream flavor that I can't find elsewhere, Hokey Pokey. Apparently, there are places in Japan, which sells Hokey Pokey flavored ice-cream, but not in a small town like Beppu. At least, I can't image I would find it in Oita Prefecture. However, I definitely don't miss the flavor, Goody Goody Gum Drops, which is a BUBBLEGUM flavor filled with chewy candy drops. The worst flavored ice-cream I've ever tasted.

Speaking of New Zealand's ice-cream, I terribly miss Rush Munro's ice-cream. I wish someone would import them to Japan! If you are in New Zealand, or planning to travel to New Zealand, I definitely recommend this brand!

That's it for now! Would love to hear about your experiences with interesting ice-cream flavor!

UPDATE: Product information is available in Japan. (http://www.topvalu.net/items/detail.php?id=5192&sid=2&cid=50)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Maccha Banana (抹茶バナナ)

I've received a box filled with food from a friend's family last week, and this sweet was among many of the delicious ones I've tasted over the week.

The cover didn't tell me much, but the name "maccha banana" did,  the undeniable link between Maccha Banana and Tokyo Banana. I wonder why these sweets aren't named "Kyoto Banana"... Maybe that's because it might be too similar with Tokyo Banana?

Opening the box led me to find six small packages of the Maccha Banana.


As the for actually cake, it is a typical green tea with banana custard fillings cake. When compared with the Tokyo Banana fillings, I feel that the Maccha Banana's fillings are much more subtle than the Tokyo Banana's one. The cake itself is soft, and fluffy, however, the smell of green tea isn't too distinct.

TIPS: I find this cake to be tastier than eaten after a few hours in the refrigerator. The cream somehow tasted tastier when eaten cold.

This is a perfect sweet to be eaten during morning or afternoon tea, or with a hot drink.

The similarity between this and Tokyo Banana of course as I've mentioned above is obvious, however, both of them are also different in a sense that one is a vanilla cake, and the other is a green tea cake. To me, it is impossible to tell you guys which one I liked more, however if asked which one I can consume more, I would certainly still say Tokyo Banana, possibly due to the size.

I couldn't find how much this is on the internet, but I think you can find these in Kyoto Station, and places around Kyoto. I think this is worth a try if you're visiting Kyoto, or worth buying as an お土産 to take home. ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meiji's Pineapple Gummy (果汁グミゴールデンパイン)

Coming back to Japan after a long holiday always bring a good surprises for me in term of new snacks and sweets in the supermarket as each season begin, and in this case, it's Spring. Thank god winter is mostly gone, especially in Kyushu area. 

Over the past few years since I've been away from New Zealand, I've missed eating lollies and gummies such as strawberry and cream. I tried looking for it in Thailand, but no luck. Here in Japan as well, it seems that gummy is not as popular as in New Zealand where you can visit any local supermarket or dairy, and you will find a wide varieties of lollies and gummy. Therefore, I must stick to the substitutes. 

I brought this pack of gummy at a local MaxValue supermarket for ¥88 per packet. 

On the package, it says that the gummy is made out of 100% pineapple juice. As for the flavor, it's a typical pineapple gummy, but I think the smell of this gummy is not as strong as the others. It's a good snack to have when you're bored during lectures, or falling asleep in a meeting. 


There are a different flavors such as grape, lemon and peach. If you're able to understand Japanese, the gummy's website is quite interesting. Apparently, there is a short anime story as a part of a promotional video. http://www.meiji.co.jp/sweets/candy_gum/fruits_gummi/

In the end, I guess the gummy is pretty good for me, but nothing to excite over. If compared with lollies such as strawberry n' cream, well.. I would exchange this for that any time.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monteur's Apple Custard Dorayaki


A few weeks back, I was buying snacks before class in my university's coop shop, and found this gem. I think it's quite a seller, as most of the time, they're sold out.

I've always love dorayaki, well, only the pancake part anyway. People always tell me that it's just pancake, but I swear that it's more than just pancake. Pancake doesn't taste like dorayaki pancake, if that make sense, because it does to me. >.< Making this snack a treat for me. However, even though I call it dorayaki, on the label, they called it 'Apple Custard soft sandwich'.(りんごカスタードのやわらかサンド)To me, it's still a dorayaki though.


As you can see from the picture, most of the fillings is actually whipped cream. For the whole piece, you might find a micro-tiny piece of crunchy apply three to four times. As for the mentioned custard on the label, it's nowhere to be found. So, it's practically pancakes with whipped cream, and what's not to love about that.

I truly enjoyed it, and have brought it again many times. The price on the website is ¥126 but in my university's coop, I think they sell it for ¥138. Not too sure though. This would be a good snack for those who enjoy morning, afternoon snacks, or snacks in general. Nothing too special, but for the price, I think it is reasonable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rokkatei Butter Sandwich from Hokkaido

Happy 2012 everyone.  :) I hope you had a great holiday, and a great start to this year. I had a great holiday as I went up to the Kansai area for 9 days. During my time there, I realized that sweets are so much better in there than in Kyushu. T_T Actually, pretty much everything is better.

During December 2011, I ordered Rokkatei Butter Sandwich (マルセイバターサンド) from Hokkaido as a new year present for a friend's family, as well as ordering another box for myself. To me, I classify this sweet as a biscuit/cookie because I don't really see another way to classify it. =_="


I've only tasted Aso's Butter Sandwich (Aso is in Kumamota prefecture, Kyushu Island) before, but not the ones from Hokkaido. To my surprises, the Hokkaido's ones are much more creamy and stronger in favor.


A butter sandwich consists of butter/cream cheese filling with raisins, in between of two butter cookies. I think the cream with raisins part to be a bit too sweet. I don't mind the tiny scent of rum, however, I find it too hard to eat without any drink to drown the sweetness. The biscuit didn't help either, as I think they are made from brown sugar. I forgot to take the picture of the butter sandwich before my friend finished the whole 20-pieces box, so the picture of it is founded online. [credit: http://item.shopping.c.yimg.jp/i/j/946kitchen_m-2]


My Japanese friend seems to have enjoyed the Hokkaido's butter sandwich more than the Aso's ones, but somehow, I prefer the weaker taste one from Aso. I found it easier to eat, as I could only eat half of the Hokkaido's butter sandwich before having to put it down to get a glass of milk to lessen the overly sweetness of the biscuit.

Overall, I find this Rokkatei Butter Sandwich not to be overly exciting, or enchanted in anyway. However, Japanese people seems to like it, as it is a very well-known snacks and can be found outside of Hokkaido. I was super surprised when I was a small box of this butter sandwich in Daimaru Osaka-eki. It was a bit of a bummer because the friend's family whom I ordered it for lived in the Kansai area, and I wanted to find something that they can't normally find in the Kansai area.

Oh yeah.. This darling costed quite a penny in my opinion.. 20 pieces for ¥2,300.

You can find out more information on Rokkatei's Butter Sandwich from: https://www.rokkatei-eshop.com/eshop/contents/top/ (sorry, only in Japanese)