Known for its impossibly soft cream buns, this chain store had tried thousands of recipes before arriving at the final product — a delicate sweet bread that tastes best when it is chilled. The buns come in five flavours: fresh cream, custard, chocolate, matcha, and sweet red bean paste (azuki). Custard and fresh cream are the brand’s bestselling flavours, but the Azuki fillings are made by simmering Hokkaido-grown azuki beans and the matcha cream is made with a Fukuoka brand powdered green tea for a tinge of bitterness.
Each bun is painstakingly made by hand, from making the bread to the cream to the final packaging. This is because the cream buns are so soft they might be torn if handled by a machine.
Aside from its cream buns, try Hattendo’s coffee, an original blend made by a specialty coffee shop called Itsuki Coffee, located in Miyajima in the Hiroshima prefecture.
First established in Japan in 1969, Henri Charpentier is a French-inspired Japanese patisserie named after the nineteenth-century French chef. It started out as a small coffee shop in Ashiya, and built a name for its Crepe Suzette and flambéed crêpes.
Get ready to splash some cash on the exquisitely made signature cakes, pastries, madeleine, financiers and flambé desserts. Some of the signature items include the fragrant financiers, made with almonds and an original cultured butter recipe, madeleines made of Hokkaido flour, rum, honey and Japanese lemons, and the strawberry shortcake, a light almond sponge cake layered with whipped cream.
A favourite for forty years and counting, the financiers are made with cultured butter from Hokkaido and two types of top-grade almond flour, then baked until they are buttery, fluffy and perfectly golden brown.
Established in 2012, Kyushu Pancake is famous for its multi-grain pancakes, which are made with seven different types of grains grown in Kyushu (arguably Japan’s agricultural gem): Wheat from Oita Prefecture, Aigoma farmed sprouted brown rice in Aya, Miyazaki, millet from Unzen, Nagasaki, pressed barley from Saga Prefecture, purple rice and red glutinous rice from Kumamoto and Fukuoka Prefecture, non-glutinous rice from Kagoshima and raw sugar from Okinawa and Kagoshima. The pancakes are free of artificial flavourings, additives and emulsifiers.
Some of the store’s highlights include the Kyushu buttermilk classic pancake, matcha montblanc, eggs benedict pancake, salted caramel French toast and matcha azuki waffle.
If you’d like to try your hand at whipping up your own pancakes, you can also purchase the Kyushu Pancake Mix. For a savoury dish, try the karaage chicken waffle (one of the two dishes that can only be found in Singapore), which is served with Kyushu’s special sauce and white wine honey made of Taiwanese wildflower.
More than a decade after its stint in Singapore from 1984 to 2003, this popular Japanese chocolatier and confectionery made its comeback in 2017 and has whetted our taste buds ever since. The chain offers a range of sweet and savoury snacks such as chocolates, cookies with roasted nuts or cookie sandwiches and packaged baked goods such as madeleines.
Founded as a chocolate shop in Kobe in 1931, it is now one of Japan’s leading luxury confectionery makers, with over 1,000 shops and 33 cafes in Japan, as well as outlets in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Dubai and Singapore. Morozoff’s goodies are air-flown to Singapore at least once per week. Its signatures include the Feuillage (thin leaf-shaped cookies topped with almonds or hazelnuts), glace au chocolat (bite-sized chocolates), and the Hokkaido mascarpone cheesecake.
Established in 2013 with its first outlet in Tokyo Station, The Maple Mania is well-known for its Maple Butter Cookie, which ranked for three consecutive years (from 2015 to 2017) as the best-selling product in Tokyo Station, according to the annual Tokyo Station Popular Souvenir Ranking. It is the sister company of Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory, the famous cheese cookie confectionery chain mentioned earlier.
The Maple Mania uses pure maple syrup sourced directly from Quebec, Canada to create its own mixture of maple syrup, toffee, herbs and spices, with a tinge of floral flavour. The sweet syrup is then incorporated into its products.
Apart from the maple butter cookies, other crowd favourites include the maple financiers and caramel-topped maple baumkuchen (which it says symbolises longevity and unity), where the tree cake is infused with maple syrup and sprinkled with crystallised maple sugar for a crunchy texture.
With nine outlets in Tokyo ever since it was established in 2011, Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory has been in Singapore since November 2017. The popular confectionery chain specialises in sweets such as cookies, cakes and soft serves made of Hokkaido Jersey milk, French camembert cheese and guérande salt.
It sources ingredients from various parts of the world, such as rosemary honey from Spain, sea salt from France, gorgonzola cheese and porcini mushroom from Italy. The signature item is the salt and camembert cookies, where the Camembert cheese white chocolate filling provides a savoury-sweet pairing. The milk cheesecake is another popular item. Made of cream cheese from France and Hokkaido and blended with Hokkaido fresh milk, it comes with a crepe base layered with a cheese and milk mousse. Other must-tries include the strawberry milk roll cake made from homemade strawberry jam and the Cow Cow Sundae, a soft-serve cup made from cream cheese and gouda cheese from Hokkaido.
This Japanese artisan patisserie was established by Chef Yamashita Masataka, who was trained at the reputable Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka. With years of baking experience under his belt, Chef Yamashita is an esteemed patissiere who cut his teeth at many patisseries around Japan before managing one of the top patisseries in Nara. His search for a new challenge saw him move to Singapore, where he continues to create delightful treats such as strawberry shortcakes, Japanese mont blancs, shell-shaped financiers, peach souffles, mille feuille and luna cakes (sponge cakes made with cream, custard and studded with fruits).
If you’re a fan of French-Japanese pastries, then Chef Yamashita is right up your alley.