Great Pancakes in Tokyo
About Tokyo, English, Japanese Food anko, Asakusa, Cool Japan, Dorayaki, Japanese food, Japanese history, Japanese language, Japanese tradition, pancakes, Wagashi, Washoku, Western culture in Japan
Pancakes have become something of a fad for the last two or three years in Japan. If you visit Harajuku area there are many pancake houses and you may find a long long queue in front of each pancake house.
To believe it or not, making queue is NOT something that Tokyoists love to do, I mean Edoers (or Edoists, Edoesi, Edochiani, or whatever…), called in Japanese as Edokko, who were born and raised in Edo (renamed Tokyo in 1868), simply native Tokyo. But to be a real Edokko they say at least three generations have to be native.
Characteristics of Edokko are said to be assertive, straightforward, and impatient like me…
It is a famous saying for Edokko, if you don’t eat quickly it will be rotten before you eat, or if you masticate to much the food will be rotten in your mouth…
So the last thing that Edokko will do is to wait for the food!!
However, since Edo period many people have come to Edo (Tokyo) for work and it is very rare to find real Edokkos after Tokyo became a Metropolice. So, if you may have an opportunity, ask the people waiting in a queue where their origins are.
Now to the subject. If you want to eat delicious pancakes in Tokyo (though I think most of you are not interested because pancakes are not Japanese) you may have to pay at least 1,500 yen per person. But I would like to introduce you Japanese original pancakes for which you have to pay around 200 yen.
That is Dorayaki.
Dorayaki is one of popular traditional Japanese sweets. Imagine a hamburger. Two round-shaped small pancakes, instead of buns. Anko sweet bean paste, in place of a hamburger patty. This is called Dorayaki!
There may be many people who have seen Dorayaki on TV when they were small kids even though they have never tasted. Dorayaki is famous because it is Doraemon’s favorite sweets…
However, the name of Dorayaki did not come from Doraemon but it is said that ‘dora’ came from the name of a musical instrument, a metal percussion, Dora.
There is an interesting legend on this name. The first Dorayaki was made with the ‘dora’ which a famous samurai Benkei left behind in a farmer’s house where he was hiding. The farmer used the important ‘dora’ which was used in war instead of a pan and made pancakes …
Now I would like to list my own favorite shops of Dorayaki, especially for those who are visiting Tokyo (This list is my own favorite and I won’t take any claims on this!!. OK?)
No.1: Kameju (in Asakusa, right in front of Kaminari-mon of Senso-temple)
Japanese sweets are famous for their beauty looks. However, I cannot say Dorayaki of Kameju is beautiful, infact, ugly, maybe the ugliest Dorayaki… but if you eat it, it is incredibly delicious and I would say it is the best Dorayaki. Especially Kameju has Dorayaki of white beans paste. You should definitely try this white Dorayaki if you are not fascinated so much by anko (red bean paste).
Usagiya in Ueno started Dorayaki of this style in 1914. You can get the very original Dorayaki here.
No.3: Usagiya honten (in Nihombashi, near NihombashiBridge)
If you love anko, try this!
All these three shops are very Edo traditional ones and if you have chances to go to these areas, where there are many touristic spots, it is not a bad idea to visit and get some real Dorayaki rather than making a queue for Western pancakes!