A Unique Japanese Dessert at HCafe

HCafeLocation: 4750 Yonge Street – Unit 119, North York
Websitehttps://www.hcafecanada.com/

I’ve mentioned before that the Japanese Netflix TV show, Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (about a Japanese businessman who’s obsessed with dessert), is pretty much the best.  It’s frequently hilarious and features some mesmerizing food porn, not to mention enough slickly-shot footage of Tokyo to make you want to get on the next flight.  It’s great.

He eats at least one dessert per episode, and it all looks amazing.  Sadly, much of it is really difficult (if not impossible) to find in the GTA.

HCafe

One of the desserts he eats is called ohagi, and you can actually find it at HCafe, a tiny little Japanese dessert shop near Yonge and Sheppard.

It’s pretty unique.  It features a ball of chewy rice (a mix of glutinous rice and regular rice) surrounded by a sweet red bean paste.

HCafe

It’s not quite like any dessert I’ve ever had — it’s chewy, almost like mochi, but with a coarser texture thanks to the grains of rice.  The sweetness is very subtle, and though the flavour is mostly beany, there’s an underlying fruitiness.

It’s odd, but also surprisingly delicious.  If you like mochi, this hits a lot of the same notes.

Delicious Mochi at Sasaki Fine Pastry

Sasaki Fine PastryLocation: 3160 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Websitehttps://www.instagram.com/sasakifinepastry/

Sasaki Fine Pastry is the latest gem I’ve discovered thanks to the inimitable Suresh Doss, who specializes in sussing out the best non-Western eats in the city, usually out in the ‘burbs.  If you’re on Twitter and you’re not following him, I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life.

Sasaki Fine Pastry

Sasaki specializes in daifuku, a Japanese dessert in which soft, chewy mochi is stuffed with various sweet fillings.  On this particular visit they had seven flavours available; I tried mango cream, strawberry cream, yuzu cream, and sesame cream.

It’s easily the best mochi I’ve ever had.  I like mochi, but it can sometimes be a little too gummy.  But the version here had a delightfully delicate chew that almost melts in your mouth.

Sasaki Fine Pastry

The subtly sweet, creamy fillings were all great, though the strawberry — which featured a mixture of strawberry cream and sweet red bean filling — was the highlight.

Sasaki Fine Pastry

I also tried the red bean and cream doriyaki, which features a filling of sweet red bean and whipped cream that’s sandwiched between two little pancakes.  Like the daifuki, this was super fresh, subtly sweet, and extremely delicious.

Matcha Overload at Golden Bubbles

Golden BubblesLocation: 3276 Midland Avenue, Scarborough
Websitehttp://goldenbubbles.ca/

I don’t particularly like matcha.  It has a vaguely bitter, swampy flavour that I find unappealing.

So obviously, when I went to Golden Bubbles, I ordered the Matcha Red Bean Waffle despite the fact that they have many non-matcha options that look perfectly delicious.  Because I’m a stupid person?

Golden Bubbles

In my defense, I’ve been craving a red bean dessert (probably because I’ve been watching Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman on Netflix, a delightfully quirky Japanese show about a dessert-obsessed businessman).  Plus, it’s been a few years since I’ve tried a matcha dessert, so my general mindset was “prove me wrong, Golden Bubbles.  Prove me wrong.”

Yeah, I still don’t like matcha.  But if you do, I’m sure you’ll find this quite tasty.  It consists of a matcha poppy seed waffle, green tea ice cream, and a sweet red bean topping.

Golden Bubbles

The fresh Hong Kong style waffle was great, with a delicately crisp exterior and custardy interior.  And, flavour notwithstanding, the quality of the ice cream was very good.  It was rich and creamy.  The beans were tasty as well.

But no, sorry matcha fans.  It’s beloved, and I just don’t get it.  I won’t say it’s flat-out gross, but its popularity baffles me.

I guess I’ll wait another few years and try it again.