If you’ve ever used public transport in Japan, you may have seen the Suica card, the smart card you can use to pay the fare on Japanese transport systems, named after the onomatopoeic phrase “sui-sui“, meaning to swim or glide smoothly. You may even have noticed that they come adorned with an adorable mascot penguin character, known simply as the “Suica Penguin“. But did you know that the Suica Penguin has now been transformed into a form of delicious confection?
Apparently, the Suica Penguin is irresistibly cute in edible form as well, and the penguin bread is selling like crazy! Naturally, we had to get our hands on a couple and see for ourselves what made it so special.
Of course, we wouldn’t bring you news of any old bread that you can pick up anywhere; these “pengin pan” are sold only at two locations in Japan–at the Edy’s Bread Mini shops in Ikebukuro Station and Iidabashi Station, and they come in special boxes with the cute penguin’s face attached on top.
Yup, the box is cute, all right. But I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of being tricked by fancy packaging, only to be disappointed upon seeing the product inside. We shouldn’t get too excited before we see the actual bread.
We open the box to find …
… two buns in the shape of Suica Penguin’s face! Okay, now we can say with absolute certainty that Suica Penguin bread is almost too cute to eat! And isn’t it amazing how expertly his little face has been recreated in bread? No slapdash confection here!
As cute as they are, the bread is, of course, made to be eaten, and eat it gleefully we did. The bread itself contains cocoa powder and tasted a little bitter. The best part, though, is the cream filling inside. One contains custard and the other contains chocolate cream, so you get to enjoy two sweet flavors in one package. The cream together with the bitter cocoa bread makes for a delightful combination that isn’t too sweet and should be to the liking of both young and old alike.
▼See the Suica Penguin bread on video
We thought both cream flavors tasted delicious, and of course it comes down to personal preference, but some of our team felt that they preferred the custard cream-filled kind the most, with the custard being a better contrast with the cocoa bread itself than the chocolate cream.
▼Mmm… look at all that filling!
Apparently, the Suica Penguin bread is now such a big hit that at both shops, they sometimes sell out within one hour of opening. Perhaps that isn’t surprising considering that the bread involves a popular, sweet-testing mascot character in a cute package that’s perfect as a snack or a small gift, and all at an affordable price of 400yen (US$4).
For those of you who can’t make it to the shops in Ikebukuro or Iidabashi first thing in the morning, there’s still a way for you to get a hold of these tasty little fellas. If you make a request to the shop (and ask very nicely), they’ll put a few on hold for you, but only a limited number, so anyone who wants to get a taste of the Penguin Bread may want to call ahead early. Although, once you have the bread in front of you, you may be faced with the dilemma of it being too cute to eat but too good not to. Well, on second thought, maybe not…
Some additional pics for your enjoyment:
▼The advertisement for Suica Penguin bread
▼Some close-ups of the bread
▼The Edy’s Bread Mini Shop where the bread is sold
[ Read in Japanese ]