One could make the claim that Japan rivals France when it comes to pastries. And Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island, is known for its dairy. Combine this and you have the makings of a killer cream puff.
Enter Kitakaro, a well-known Japanese patisserie on the famous Sakaimachi Street in the Japanese port city of Otaru, in western Hokkaido. I’d done my research prior to visiting Otaru and learned that Kitakaro serves up the king of the cream puffs, so off I went to hunt it down.
Kitakaro seems to specialise in just a few items – they sell a variety of Japanese rice crackers in a range of odd seafood flavour combinations (I can’t remember which specifically, they all just tasted very fishy), their famous baumkuchen (which one might mistake for a massive sausage)…
And three types of cream puffs!
I was expecting a diminutive little thing, dainty and petite, but this was a man-sized puff the size of a fist. Well, no one’s ever accused me of having a small appetite so suits me just fine!
You can’t really tell the size from that picture so here’s another one.
These cream puffs are so in demand that when I arrived mid-afternoon, two of the varieties were already sold out. The only one left was the Yume-Fushigi, which is the second or third most popular – the Number 1 recommended being the Kita no Yume-Dome (the middle one).
But as I had no option, Yume-Fushigi it was. And WOW. Now THIS is what you call a cream puff.
A soft choux bun filled with a fluffy, deliciously vanilla-y, smooth custard cream. Not too sweet, not too rich, generous with the custard. In fact, the cream was cold so it almost tasted like ice cream. I gobbled the first, then went to get myself another. This is my gluttony face. But it had to be done!
So if this was the Number 2 cream puff, I can only imagine what the Number 1 cream puff tastes like. Reason Number 1 to go back to Otaru!
Kitakaro Otaru Honkan
Otaru, Hokkaido Prefecture 047-0027
Tel: +81 134 31 3464