Here is a collection of aesthetic food finds in Nagoya, Japan (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! Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, most dessert cafes in Nagoya remain open as of March 2020.
On the very first day of my recent trip to Nagoya, my best friend and I decided to rise up to the challenge and order all 3 bears on the “Spring Fair” menu at Ai Cafe. This included sakura ice cream bear soda, strawberry bear toast, and a whopping king bear parfait. This challenge is not recommended for the weak due to the large amounts of aesthetic food you will receive—we were completely unprepared for the massive pink ice cream and extra thicc toast and waffle dishes all shaped like bears that stared back at us. But with careful strategy and pacing, we defeated them all and washed them down with a Kenshiro Coffee. The staff was super accommodating to take the time to make this for us.
A professionally Tweeted summary of the 3 bear challenge:
Interestingly enough, Ai Cafe’s closest station is Gokiso Station, which I made a hilarious Japanese pun of: ごきそさまでした！
You may not think it’s funny, but I do.
Psychedelic Pattern Smoothies at Tuwl’s
While exploring the charming little shopping area of Osu Kannon, we stumbled upon a very small smoothie stand called Tuwl’s that sells psychedelic pattern smoothies. Unfortunately this place does not seem to be on a map yet, but it’s easy to find if you are walking towards the Taito Station. The smoothies are not only intricately designed, but they also taste out of this world. You can choose the fruit juice you want with a base of seeds, tapioca, or granola. I chose avocado juice with the seed base and was happy to find it was mixed with chopped strawberries too. My friend got the raspberry banana version which looks very similar to mine but has a different taste and pattern. All I can say was that the smoothie trip was worth it and it’s worth trying at least once.
Lyrical Coffee Donut
At one point during my trip to Nagoya, I thought I woke up in an alternate universe where coffee and donuts were “lyrical”, flowers grew from the ceiling, and it was snowing in Tokyo during sakura season but still sunny and pleasant in Aichi Prefecture. However, I learned that this was just every day life at Lyrical Coffee Donut (almost). This little cafe and flower workshop is tucked away near Kamejima Station making it still somewhat central to Nagoya. We ordered the sakura and coconut donuts (which we shared with our son, Waddle Dee), and also tried a floral jelly drink with the sandwich set. It tasted beyond delicious, and because it was sakura season the flower donuts were quite popular. I hope to come back here and try some more variety in the near future.
Not wanting to completely break our bear diet, we set off to Yama Coffee near Osu Kannon to try the infamous marshmallow coffee set. The marshmallows come in various shapes and sizes, but I had my heart set on the panda ones because they were the most aesthetic. I was delighted to see that they had added pink ones to the set to commemorate sakura season. I ordered a latte and they drew a macha leaf pattern on it which added to the panda theme. I feel like I can never drink coffee without marshmallows again because they add a perfect fluffy texture that packets of sugar can’t obtain. Yama Coffee is a coffee experience that I think everyone should have.
Queen’s Healthy Diner
Soy Chicken is Best Chicken.
After experiencing a sugar-induced coma from consuming all the bears, we realized we should eat something a little more healthy for dinner. My friend introduced me to Queen’s Healthy Diner which is not far from Sakae Station. This little diner is owned by a nice woman who prepares much of the food all by herself. I had a vegan salad and soy milk macha drink with alcohol, and my friend ordered the soy karaage (fried chicken) with homemade mayonnaise. I have to say that they karaage was by far the best thing on the menu. It tasted like like fried tofu and had the texture and appearance of karaage but was much healthier and easier to digest. In addition to this, there are vegan burritos, pizzas, and pastas available. This restaurant is every vegan in Nagoya’s dream come true.
Ogura Toast at Cafe Gentiane
I’m not sure who exactly came up with the strange idea to spread azuki bean paste on top of buttered French toast, but it somehow became a popular dish in this region after the first World War movement. Bean paste isn’t the first thing I’d think to add to my toast, but it surprisingly makes a delicious topping. The texture is a bit thicker than jam or jelly, but it’s just as sweet and usually comes with a side of butter or whipped cream as well. This dish is dubbed “Ogura Toast” and can be found all over Nagoya and other places in Aichi Prefecture. Since we were short on time, we settled for a place called Cafe Gentiane in Nagoya Station, but you can find Ogura Toast in a lot of other cafes here. You really can’t go wrong with French toast in Japan because it has a lot of rich variety.
Now Closed: Little Baby Dogs
When I first attended World Cosplay Summit dressed as Futaba from Persona 5 in 2017, I stumbled upon a small ice cream place in Sakae called “Little Baby Dogs“. The beautiful chocolate-dipped ice cream cones and heart-shaped toppings made this place a real charm (not to mention the name). Unfortunately this shop is now closed, but my memories of cosplaying and eating ice cream here will last forever.
Have you ever had a craving for Balllls? Though most tapioca places in Japan seem to be closing due to the trend dying off, Balllls Tapitera in Osu is actually just moving to a new location. I look forward to its grand re-opening and seeing more strange places like this in the future.
Thank you for reading Volume 1 of my aesthetic food journeys in Nagoya. If you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments! I will be writing more volumes in the future.