When in Tokyo: Eating Your Way Around Harajuku 原宿

While Harajuku 原宿 is widely considered as one of the ultimate places for teenaged fashionistas to visit, especially on the weekend, the hipster haven is also host to a variety of foodie gems. Whether it’s a sugary treat or a  belly busting bowl of ramen, here’s a rough guide of what to check out if you’re feeling anything between peckish to ravenous:

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Catch up on the rest of my Tokyo trip here!

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Pompompurin Cafe @ Orchard Central – Singapore’s First Sanrio Character Cafe

There’s just something about character cafes that makes them so darned irresistible, even to us grown-ups. Hot on the heels of Japan, the mecca of kawaii-themed eateries and pop ups, Singapore is now home to not one, but two permanent Sanrio character cafes, including the Pompompurin Cafe at Orchard Central!

Voted as Sanrio’s most popular character in 2015, Pompompurin is a lovable golden retriever whose cream coloured skin and trademark brown beret make him resemble a pudding, hence his name.

As my first character cafe experience at the Gudetama Cafe in Osaka had left me eager for more, there was no way I could miss out on this.

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Konnichiwa, Kansai! Gudetama Cafe @ HEP FIVE, Osaka – Sanrio’s Laziest Egg Gets Its Own Cafe

So… if you’ve noticed, I did not write at all last month, which I’ve never done before as I’ve always intended to keep this blog busy with new reviews, lists and so on since I started. Well, that’s because I was busy planning for my trip to Kansai, Japan!

This trip is a first in many ways for me – the first time I’ve travelled solo for the entire leg, and the first time I abandoned the tried and tested hotels and stayed all by my lonesome in an Airbnb apartment.

I was super duper excited planning my itinerary and looking up all the places I wanted to go (in Sakura season, no less!), and now I’m even more thrilled to share my solo adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun here. Starting with my very first stop  – Gudetama Cafe at HEP FIVE!

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Lethargic, unmotivated, and all around lazy – Gudetama was the perfect embodiment of me physically and mentally given that I started the day right after a red-eye flight. And what better way to celebrate my making it through in one piece than with dinner with everyone’s favourite lazy egg ?

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Rollie Olie @ Star Vista – Fusion Food in Pretty Packages

The last time I heard the name Rollie Olie (or rather, Rolie Polie Olie), it was on one of those kids TV channels way back. Now, it seems that an Asian fusion eatery has surfaced at Star Vista.

Well I’m a fan of sushi and all their sushi rolls feature my favourite avocado, so I’m not complaining!  😀

It’s no secret that with the explosion of social media, we eat with our eyes before our mouths, and Rollie Olie has got their presentation done right to a T. Even the box that their sushi rolls come in resembles the American takeaway box, in line with the fusion characteristic of the menu.

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[CLOSED] Tai Parfait @ Bugis Junction

[Update 3 June 2016: Tai Parfait has closed.]

It’s not so often that we see a school of fish swimming around busy Bugis, let alone one with mouthfuls of sweet, sweet toppings – literally. Adding to Bugis Junction‘s burgeoning kaleidoscope of F&B options is Yokohama-based Tai Parfait, home to a culinary hybrid for dessert lovers.

The store’s titular offering, Tai Parfait, is really that – a combination of the beloved traditional Japanese fish-shaped pancake with piping hot filling on the inside and the rich toppings of a parfait in place of its closed mouth. Cheery decor beckons customers and the brisk, factory-like production of taiyaki behind the counter is telling of just how popular it is.

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Hello Hokkaido! Kitakaro Cafe 北果楼 @ Sakaimachi Street, Otaru

Japanese cream puffs. They taste like heaven, cherub’s kisses, and sweet dreams come true. Okay, I may have exaggerated a little, but that’s the feeling I get whenever I bite into one of ‘em pastries: soft, puffy shell with rich cream, fresh custard and I think I just drooled over my keyboard typing that last sentence.

And then, there’s Kitakaro Cafe’s cream puffs.

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Pastry Snaffle’s Catchcakes from Hakodate, Hokkaido (Japan)

I once had a friend cart back a box of Tokyo Banana for me. His suitcase was so stuffed to the brim, the flight an arduous 7 hours, that it’s a miracle that that box did not sustain a single dent on its way back (talk about durable Japanese packaging).

You don’t extend the same treatment to a box of Snaffle’s Catchcakes, however. Even if it’s double wrapped and packed in a sturdy, true-to-size package. Why? Because these darlings are, quite literally, as delicate as a cloud.

Established in 1998, Pastry Snaffle’s is just one of the many brands that have since crossed the Pacific Ocean (last year, to be precise) to invade our sunny, Japan-hungry shores. With three outlets at Plaza Singapura, Bedok Mall and VivoCity to date, and another on the way, it’s safe to say that Snaffles is here to stay. 😀

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