Line-ups for food are a traveler’s best friend. Have I mentioned this before? I have? A million times? Well, it’s true.
The latest line-based discovery: a street food stand called Uncle Bean, which serves up some seriously delicious tofu-based desserts.
Here’s a very pleasant surprise, and something I hadn’t even heard of until I came to Bangkok: khanom bueang, a Thai dessert that consists of thin, crispy pancakes with a generous spread of a creamy Italian-meringue-like substance, along with other fillings (the one I tried had egg yolk threads, though coconut was also an option).
You know you’re in the right city when you can just randomly stumble across a place that’s this delicious.
How delicious, you ask? Extremely delicious.
I was walking down the Sanjo-kai Shotengai Shopping Arcade (which is kind of like a smaller version of the Nishiki Market) when I saw this stand selling creme brulee doughnuts. I literally did a double take. I can’t say no to a creme brulee doughnut. I’m not a monster. So obviously I bought one.
So there I am, just walking around in Tokyo and minding my own business, and wham. Attacked by crazy deliciousness, completely out of nowhere.
One of those things that’s huge in Asia and virtually unheard of in the west is putting beans in desserts. It’s a little bit off-putting at first, but then you quickly realize it’s delicious and wonder why you haven’t spent your whole life eating beany sweets.
There was a stand near Yoyogi Park selling what they called baby castella (castella being a type of cake popular in Japan). You can see the lady piping in some fresh batter into the moulds.
It was a sad, sad day when the Beard Papa in the Pacific Mall (which was the only Beard Papa in Canada outside of Vancouver) shut down.
Tragically, I discovered this by actually going to the Pacific Mall to pick up some Beard Papa, only to find that the spot where it used to be was completely ripped apart (I think they were turning it another Chinese restaurant). There was nothing left but a hollowed-out husk filled with unused equipment and shattered dreams. It was heartbreaking.
Well, Japan is the home of Beard Papa, and it is just as glorious as I remembered.
Apple pie purists would probably scoff at it, but the pie at a cafe called Winkel 43 in Amsterdam is pretty damn good.
I was already a pretty big fan of the stroopwafels you can get back home — the round, thin discs of crispy, chewy, caramel-filled waffles that usually come in a cellophane-wrapped pile of five or six. They’re delicious.
But my stroopwafel love has been kicked to the next level, because I just had a freshly-made one in Amsterdam, and it was everything. It was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long, long time.