Feline-themed baked goods are as heart-melting as they are mouthwatering.
Tokyo and Osaka have always had a bit of a rivalry. While the former is undoubtedly the business and cultural capital of the country (not to mention the political capital), Osaka is also a prominent center of commerce, cuisine, and comedy, with many of the nation’s top comedians having grown up or spent considerable time living in the central Japanese city.
So when adorable bunny-shaped bread showed up in a Tokyo bakery this spring, perhaps it was only a matter of time until a baker in Osaka responded, and in firing back, the Blue Jin Bakery and Cafe has pulled out the biggest gun in the animal-theming arsenal: cats.
Officially called the Ironeko Bread (neko being the Japanese word for “cat”), this cute baked good is being offered as part of the Blue Jin’s reopening celebration following a renovation project. The bread doesn’t just look sweet, either, the restaurant promises it tastes sweeter than normal bread too. Prior to baking, the flour is kneaded in hot water, gelatinizing the starches to draw out more of their inherent sweetness and making the final product soft and springy in texture.
While there’s nothing stopping you from using the pre-sliced pieces of bread to make ordinary sandwiches, their cute shape lends them to edible art projects if you’ve got a chocolate pen handy.
The Ironeko Bread goes on sale May 26 and sells for 350 yen (US$3.15) for a pack of five slices, which sounds like a bargain for such a massive cuteness quantity. However, Blue Jin is located on the premises of the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, and with all the travelers staying at the hotel passing by the bakery every day, there’s sure to be plenty of competition for the kitty bread, so you’ll want to arrive early to ensure you get a loaf of your own.
Blue Jin / ブールジン
Located inside Hotel New Hankyu Osaka / 大阪新阪急ホテル
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Kita-ku, Shibata 1-1-35
Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he sidesteps the whole Tokyo vs. Osaka debate by living in Yokohama.