Here is a collection of recent aesthetic food finds in the Kansai region of Japan focusing on Kyoto and Osaka (Volume 1). ♥
This country has no shortage of of aesthetic foods so I will continue to share cafes that I stumble across in future posts!
While wearing a butterfly-patterned dress, I managed to find butterfly ice cream at AKICHI in Namba (Osaka) that perfectly matched my drip. This colorful little alley functions as both a photo space covered in murals and a nook full of bakeries and cafes. I tried the strawberry and vanilla milk-flavored ice cream from Deglab; the “soft cream laboratory”. Not only was it topped with an elegant white chocolate butterfly and edible pearls, but it was also mouthwatering delicious! It felt like a dream come true. There is also a tapioca shop and bakery upstairs if you are looking for other desserts, but the ice cream is some of the best in town.
There’s nothing like eating a bowl of noodles in Kyoto. Or a Mont Blanc ice cream dessert disguised as noodles, because that makes perfect sense. At Wagurisenmon Saori in downtown Kyoto, you can confuse your taste buds by digging into these dessert noodles with a spoon and tasting a thick layer of cake and ice cream below. Kansai cooking is nothing short of amazing:
The taste of this dessert was average due to the “noodles” being somewhat tasteless, but as an aesthetic food enthusiast I could not pass this opportunity up. Definitely try it if you like the concept, but regular Mont Blanc sold in French bakeries throughout Japan taste a lot better and are cheaper. I will never forget this experience though.
All of my Japanese friends that travel to Osaka continually talk about butter unagi (eel) sushi, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I’ve eaten eel many times and think that it’s tasty and a good source of protein, but the downside is it’s considerably expensive compared to other foods. However, Jinen Sushi offers a pretty good deal on their nigiri and sushi rolls and you can order them individually. I eagerly ordered the unagi butter and confirmed that it was worth the hype. Eel normally has somewhat of a tough texture, but the sticks of butter add a softness to it that you normally wouldn’t expect. Because you can only get this in Osaka, I ordered another round. In America butter is a normal topping found in mass quantities, but here it’s far less common so you really treasure moments like this.
Happy Labo Popcorn
While I was going to a show in Osaka one day, I noticed mysterious steam coming from a street vendor. Curious to see what it was, I was surprised to find that it was actually frozen rainbow popcorn that turns your breath white! Happy Labo Popcorn definitely has a unique theme going for it and sells some interesting ice cream too. Usually I’m not a fan of flavored popcorn, but when frozen it actually has a sweet but still mild taste. It’s definitely attention-grabbing and fun to walk around with.
I was browsing Instagram one day when I came across an orange on my feed, but it wasn’t just an ordinary orange. It was an orange (wait for it)… WITH A FACE. Not just any face, but it had googly eyes and mustache. Truly blessed with poise and perfect symmetry. Whatever it was, I had to order it. My aesthetic food journey took me to Cocochi Cafe in Kyoto which is a cozy dessert place near the Imperial Palace. I can proudly say that drinking orange juice out of an orange with a handsome face is one of my biggest life accomplishments. There is also a cute dog at this cafe that is happy to greet you!
JTRRD Cafe started out as a small restaurant in Osaka that eventually became so popular that it opened branches in Kyoto and Nagoya mainly due to its patterned rainbow smoothies. Unfortunately the day I went they were out of ingredients for the smoothies, but I still enjoyed the paprika curry and omelet rice (which I shared with a friend because the serving size was so big). It was probably some of the best curry I have ever tasted due to the way it was seasoned. Paprika is truly an underrated ingredient. Next time I come back to this area, I will make an effort to try the famed smoothies too!
By this point I’ve experienced a lot of unique desserts in Japan, but pancake skewers are a new thing to me. At Panbo Osaka, you can choose the size of skewer you want (which consists of mini pancakes and fruits on a stick) then add chocolate, sprinkles, and other toppings to flavor it. The mini pancakes are surprisingly filling, and the marshmallow at the top makes me feel like I’m at a campfire. Speaking of camping…
Picture a hammock cafe where you can relax and drink with your friends in hammocks. Now picture that same cafe with all you can drink alcohol. Welcome to Revarti Osaka, maybe one of the best watering holes in all of Japan. I’ve been to hammock cafes in Tokyo before, but they sure didn’t have the all you can drink option (maybe they will in the future, but this place was way more relaxed). I was brought here with my bartender friend from Space Station, and with a group of 4 people I’m pretty sure we only paid around 1500 yen each. They had everything from wine to high balls to vodka cocktails too so I indulged in everything. We also tried dunking crackers into chocolate fondue with huge marshmallows baked into it. This was by far one of my best drinking experiences in Osaka that was followed by a 12 hour party at club dapnia. A night I will never forget!
The Longest Softcream in Japan
At Long Softcream on American Street in Osaka, you can eat the longest soft-serve ice cream in Japan standing at a whopping 40cm. But be quick~ It will melt fast if you try to eat it during the summer. The irony is perhaps compared to the average size of American desserts, it’s not so long after all. The taste is pretty ordinary, but I bought it mainly for the meme factor. I will be writing more in detail about the wacky things you can find on American Street in the future because this is just the beginning!
BONUS: Individually Sealed Sliced Pieces of Bread
I can’t remember exactly where this place was, but the fact that it sells individually sealed sliced pieces of bread is simply amazing. All it needs is a side of unagi butter!
EDIT: The location is Sakimoto Bakery in Osaka.
Thank you for reading Volume 1 of my aesthetic food journeys in Kansai. If you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments! I will be writing Volume 2 focused on Nagoya in the near future.