Friday, 26 April 2013

Dorayaki Obsessed

Dorayaki refers to a Japanese confectionary, which is made up of two mini pancakes sandwiching a generous amount of azuki red bean paste in the middle – think dessert hamburger.

Before coming to London, I had never heard of dorayaki, and now I'm wondering: how many other great things in life have I missed out on!?

The first one which I encountered was from Japan Centre near Piccadilly Circus, which is a Japanese supermarket and restaurant. Knowing that a combination of strawberries and cream makes everything better, I decided to purchase a Wagashi (brand name) Strawberries & Cream Dorayaki from the fridge. (£1.59, maybe?)

I couldn't help but let my eyelids fall in ecstacy as I took a bite off the dorayaki. The pancakes are just so soft, light and fluffy, while the cream filling with strawberries blended and infused is smooth and delicious. What. A. Treat. It was love at first bite.

For a while, I was worried that I'd have to specially make a trip to Japan Centre every time I had a dorayaki craving, but my worries subsided when I realised that Wasabi, the express Japanese food franchise, sold different types of dorayaki as well. (£1.50 each)

Having had to pass by Hammersmith Broadway Shopping Centre for eleven days straight (long story short, I had rehearsals in town everyday and didn't want to spend £40 on transport in total, so I took a 2-hour bus ride to and fro my rehearsal venue throughout Easter break), I grasped the opportunity to try out the dorayaki from the Wasabi in the shopping centre.

The one filled with red bean was nothing special for me, but it was satisfying and yummy indeed. I'm aware that many non-Asian people are sceptical about red bean paste, and that for most, it is probably an acquired taste. Red bean paste is sweet, has the consistency of mashed potato, and has a very mild level of bitterness to it. (I'm a person who can't take any sort of coffee stronger than a chocolate Starbucks Frappuccino, keep that in mind.) There is a strong fragrance which you have to experience on your own in order to understand the taste of red bean.

I bought a Green Tea Mascarpone dorayaki because I love mascarpone cream cheese (long live tiramisu), and was curious to taste how the green tea would work within it.

This. Dorayaki. Is. Just. So. Good. I. Hope. That. All. These. Periods. Emphasize. My. Point.

Much like the dorayaki with strawberries and cream, the lightness of the pancake compliments the creaminess of the mascarpone, and the green tea powder adds a pleasant fragrance to it. My favourite thus far.

Fuyumi brought some authentic dorayakis from Japan when she went home for Easter break, and promised that they were the 'real' kind.

These are considerably different, mostly in the fact that the pancakes are yellower and richer, probably with more use of egg yolks, which added moisture to the dorayaki, gave it a slightly denser texture, and an eggy smell and taste.

These were nothing too far away from the Red Bean Dorayaki from Wasabi, which is a relief, considering how I've had sweet, un-spicy curry and bland stir-fry noodles here in London. However, I slightly preferred the dorayaki from Wasabi and Japan Centre, mainly because of the stunning, Europeanised fillings and the lighter pancakes.

Japan Centre
Address: 16 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4PT
Phone:020 7255 8255

Wasabi (Hammersmith)

Address: 77 Rannoch Rd, London W6 9SX
Phone:020 8748 8675
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