During a recent trip to Hawaii, I was shopping in the food section at Japanese department store Don Quixote when my attention was caught by a strangely-colored cake.
Now, I don’t know about our American readers, but here in Japan we take the appearance of our food very seriously. Most Japanese are dumbfounded by the unnaturally vibrant colors of some American foods like candies, cereals or cakes covered in brightly colored frosting.
Not many Japanese would find something like this appetizing and I honestly thought it was just a moldy cake that the staff had forgotten to take off the shelves.
Of course, when I looked at the label I quickly realized this was not the case. The cake is actually a chiffon cake that had been injected with food coloring to make sure customers understood the flavor was blueberry—you know, in case they couldn’t read the label.
The ingredients for the cake itself were normal enough: corn flower, sugar, salt, egg white, egg yolks, blueberry juice baking powder… Sounds like a sound recipe for some delicious cake, so why they would ruin the whole thing with food coloring is beyond me.
Of course, this could just be a difference in cultural perspective: while I didn’t have the stomach to taste it myself, other American shoppers seemed to have no reservation adding these mold cakes to their carts.
But who knows, it could make a good gag gift from America if you’re shopping for a Japanese person. Just make sure they have a sense of humor and a strong stomach first.
[ Read in Japanese ]