Monday, December 17, 2007

Bell shaped Japanese pancakes - 小林煎饼钓钟烧, Kobayashi cookies

The abundance of Japanese cuisine in Taiwan as a result of Taiwan being a Japanese colony between the period 1895 ~ 1945. I just had a nice seafood hotpot dinner yesterday. None of that spicy Szechuan-influenced nature. Instead, it was Japanese-inspired. I'm not very sure of the official word to use for such cuisine. Somehow, I thought it may be termed seafood nabe (just that I often associate Japanese nabe with paper hotpot) so...I might be wrong since this one uses no paper in the pot. Alright, pictures tell a thousand words. Once I get the pictures posted, I'm sure my smart readers can give me the correct name to that. Just like how Dhanggit from Dhanggits kitchen told me the name for grilling meat that way is known as yakiniku in Japan. Thanks, Dhanggit.

Ok, how about these pancakes? These bell-shaped Japanese pancakes that are made on the spot can make any passer-by drool instantly. I am not exaggerating. The aroma of butter, cream, custard, vanilla...under heat of the waffle iron...naturally makes one generates saliva (is that a reflex action? I don't know) in the mouth. Who could resist that fresh hot-from-the-waffle-iron fragrance ? It made the queue for these pancakes longer and longer. These 钓钟烧 (pronounced diao zhong shao) thus named because they resemble a hanging dangling bell. I would LOVE to know the English/Japanese name for these pancakes, but I don't :( . I guess Imagawayaki should be the general term for these Japanese pancake/soft waffles. The Japanese pancake that made Imagawayaki famous has got to be Dorayaki, or 铜锣烧 (pronounced tong luo shao) more common to you and me. And you should have guessed that Dorayaki was thus named because of Doraemon - a cultural icon of Japan (who says it's Hello Kitty?), and Japanese manga.

Deviating from the usual red bean paste typically used to fill these pancakes, we have a buttery cream custard smell-like-vanilla filling. Best when eaten immediately! But according to some sources, if the pancakes are allowed to turn cold or if you fridge them, these pancakes can become cold sweet treats like ice-cream. I still like them when they are freshly made. The warm fillings will almost flow smoothly when you bite on that soft fluffy pancake. When warm or cooler, these pancakes do offer different textures to your taste buds, depending on which you prefer.

Ok, those or most of you who can bake, maybe you can try making these at home :P

Don't you think even the packaging is so cute, as always, in Japanese packaging?

小林煎饼钓钟烧, Kobayashi cookies and pancakes
Several locations in Taiwan

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