Whether you’re a diehard anime fan or couldn’t care less about otaku culture, you owe it to yourself to try this new treat in Akihabara.
Last weekend was the official start of sakura season in Tokyo, as cherry blossoms were seen blooming for the first time this spring in the capital’s parks and gardens. But I also ran into the beloved flowers in one other place: my ice cream.
While Akihabara remains Tokyo’s mecca for all things anime and technology-related, it’s also home to a burgeoning B-Rank Gourmet scene, as Japanese foodies call extremely affordable but genuinely tasty delicacies. On one of Akihabara’s backstreets, not far from where we tried canned vending machine ramen when it was still on sale, you’ll find Cafe Euro.
When most people hear “Akihabara” and “cafe” their minds immediately make the jump to “maid,” but Cafe Euro predates the area’s themed restaurant boom and is a straight-laced cafe, free of lacy costumes or speakers playing idol songs on an endless loop. It still attracts plenty of customers, though, particularly with its large selection of crepes and ice cream, which are available to-go at its outdoor counter.
Despite the name, Cafe Euro’s ice cream selection has a number of Japanese-inspired flavors, like matcha green tea, yuzu citrus fruit, and black sesame. But perhaps the most Japanese of all is sakura, which is being offered as a special flavor right now.
Unlike other sakura-flavored sweets which use ground up blossoms or extracts, Cafe Euro’s ice cream has whole sakura flowers mixed into it. Technically they’re shiotzuke sakura, in which the petals are treated with salt
You might imagine eating a flower to be a bitter, rubbery ordeal, but because of how they’re prepared, the shiotzuke sakura have a sweet, salty flavor. They’re also not tough at all, but give the ice cream a slightly chewy but extremely pleasing texture.
Like all of Cafe Euro’s ice cream, the sakura flavor is available in either a cone or a cup, and is priced at 300 yen (US$2.70) for a single scoop. It’s available for a limited though unspecified time, so head over early to make sure you don’t miss out.
Cafe Euro /カフェユーロ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Soto Kanda 3-10-5, Isamiya Dai 3 Building, 1st floor
東京都千代田区外神田３丁目１０−５ イサミヤ第3ビル 1階
Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Closed January 1
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