Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood means different things to different people. The beautiful people living the Japanese high life are drawn by the brand-name jewelers on the tree-lined Omotesando boulevard. Teens, meanwhile, flock to the narrow Takeshitadori shopping street to score up-to-date fashions that leave their parents scratching their heads in bewilderment.
And for those with a sweet tooth, Harajuku is all about the crepes.
Our intrepid Japanese-language correspondent P.K. recently took a break from seeing how many slices of roast pork or boiled eggs he could cram in his stomach and instead decided to see how much dessert he could consume in a single serving, as he decided to max out a Tokyo crepe by ordering one with every available dessert topping.
As the mecca of Japanese crepe lovers, Harajuku has several places that offer the treat, but for this meal/experiment, P.K. headed to what’s arguably the most famous of them all: the original branch of Marion Crepes, located on Takeshitadori and founded in 1976.
Even on the weekday afternoon when P.K. stopped by, Takeshitadori was packed with teenagers. Wading through the after-school crowd, our reporter eventually arrived at Marion, which has display cases with models of its dozens of different crepes.
P.K. wanted all of those fillings and toppings in one mega crepe. But while he was ready to accept all sweet comers, he decided not to invite any of the non-dessert entities Marion offers, like tuna or mayonnaise, to this party in his mouth. After all, while he was willing to challenge, and perhaps even sacrifice, his stomach, he wanted to try to keep his taste buds happy throughout the process.
▼ The list of ingredients P.K. planned to ask for
So P.K. made his way up to the counter, where a young woman with appropriately fashionable hairstyling and makeup was waiting to take his order. Much to P.K.’s surprise, she hardly showed any at his all-encompassing request.
P.K.: Umm…I’d like a crepe with every sweet topping on the menu, please.
Clerk: Sure thing.
P.K.: Wait, can you wrap all of that in just one crepe?
Clerk: Yeah, no problem. So what kind of ice cream do you want in it?
P.K.: All of them.
Clerk: How about the sauce?
P.K.: All of them.
Clerk: If you want peaches as a topping, I think you should pass on the chocolate sauce. It’ll make the peaches taste bitter.
P.K.: Okay, if you think that’s best.
Clerk: Right now we’ve got seasonal specials: mango and mango pudding. Do you want those too?
P.K.: Yes, everything please.
True to her word, the clerk rolled everything up in a single crepe, and the finished product was huge!
So let’s run through the cast of characters in this epic crepe:
● Whipped cream
● Vanilla ice cream
● Chocolate ice cream
● Strawberry ice cream
● Green tea ice cream
● Blueberry jam
● Azuki sweet red bean jam
● Strawberry sauce
● Milk sauce
● Caramel sauce
● Almond custard cream
● Mango pudding
▼ A meal fit for a king (of a gluttonous kingdom)
So how did it taste? In P.K.’s words “Great!”, although he did find himself wishing for a cup of coffee or tea with which to counteract some of the unrelenting sweetness.
But make no mistake, colorful as it may look, this maxed out crepe is serious eating. It took P.K. 25 minutes to finish, and he likened the effect on his stomach as being “like eating three Big Macs at once.”
▼ Making your way through the four scoops of ice cream right at the start is the most intimidating part.
Decadent as it may be, this extra-heavy dessert probably won’t leave your wallet feeling light. P.K.’s bill came to just 1,340 yen (US$11.25), which is pretty reasonable when you consider that it’s a quadruple helping of dessert. Even with Marion’s rotating seasonal menu items causing fluctuations in price, you’ll not likely to have to spend any more than 1,500 yen copying P.K.’s adventure in excess.
By the way, the idea for making the ultimate Tokyo crepe came from norialice, one of our readers, so if there’s anything else you’d like to see our team sink its teeth into, let us know in the comment section. Just give P.K. a little time to digest first, okay?
[ Read in Japanese ]