Japan's Street Food: Crepes in cones!
Originally from Brittany, a region in France, crepes diversified into Eastern Europe, and afterwards brought to Japan in 1976. The trend started from the first crÃªperie Marion Crepes at Takeshita-Dori Street to now housing many competitors along the street which is the focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture. These crepes arrived in Japan tailored to suit local tastes which contains lesser butter and packaged in cone-shape for convenience, turning it from a sit-and-eat into a take-and-go quick street food. Japanese/ French-style crepes are the 'it' food appealing to the youth in Harajuku.
Takeshita-Dori Street, Harajuku
Creperies can be found in major cities like Tokyo but more commonly in Shibuya near Shibuya station along Harajuku and Omotesando. They are also available in the countryside.
Let's see the differences of European crepes and the tailored-made Japanese crepes.
In Europe, people go for crepes as a meal, preferring savoury crepes over sweet crepes, which is more like a dessert. They are sold on in a cafe-like interior, with lots of seating areas both inside and outside.
In Japan, people prefer sweet crepes(mostly) and the crepes are sold in mobile stands, usually accompanied by plastic module replicas in glass showcases. Crepes are packaged into a quick street food that attracts the youth, mostly young women, as patrons. The recipe contains lesser butter. It is a popular food found in Japanese festivals too.
Marion Crepes is the first creperie to bring crepes from European culture and tailor them to suit local taste.
"Marion Crepes, Patissierie from Harajuku since 1976"
They sell sweet and savoury crepes. Their menu has more than eighty pre-made combinations. I noticed their glass showcase features white cards showing popularity ranking for each crepe. Price ranges from $4-$6. They have loooong queues so you need to be patient to eat them!
Look at that queue!
Even the plastic replicas can make me hungry.
Crepe from Marion Crepes, wrapping paper in red and white plaids.
Service crews are in white sweatshirts, a more casual uniform.
You can look at their menu here! http://www.marion.co.jp/hot.html
Marion Crepes (Takeshita-dori Street)
Angels Heart - A competitor!
Competitors facing each other. I love to see that competition, it's exciting. (laughs)
I would probably queue and then look at those queuing on the other side, and transfer data through my eyes.
'Yep your queue is moving faster than mine, but my crepe is the original one.'
Angels Heart and their supporters. I believe their crepes are as awesome as their rival!
Crepe from Angels Heart, wrapping paper in pink with white speckled dots.
Over at Angels Heart, their crews are dressed in patissierie outfits!
Strawberry and Cheesecake Crepe at Angels Heart. It's popular!
Small mobile vendors
Do look out for crepes sold in cute Volkswagen buses!
They can be found at pedestrian streets connecting Shibuya and Harajuku.
And now for... RECIPES!
Making your own crepe
Your tummy's probably asking for some fulfilling, soft, smooth crepe. That's why you clicked on this lens right?
To makes 6-7 crepe sheets, use:
100g flour (wheat)
A lil' salt
For whipped cream, you'll need:
200g Fresh cream
And toppings: (yay toppings!!!)
Chocolate sauce (or other sauce of your choice)
Chopped Fruits (banana, strawberry, kiwi fruit)
I would recommend using the kiwi fruit, it complements the crepe so well, making them look so bright and cheery!
Making the batter
1. Sift the flour, sugar and salt together.
2. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl.
3. Stir milk into the beaten egg a little by little at a time, mix til they combine.
4. Pour mixture into the flour bowl, mixing a little at a time, this prevents lumps in the batter. Strain mixture to make it smooth.
5. Wrap batter with cling-wrap, place in fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. Dissolve butter on a bowl over water in the pan.
Proceed to make whipped cream
7. Pour fresh cream and sugar into a bowl placed on top of a bowl of water with ice.
8. Whisk to mix them.
9. Add vanilla extract, keep whisking til a frothy white state.
Its been 30 minutes, take mixture out from fridge
10. Add dissolved butter to the batter.
Now to make crepe sheets...
11. On medium fire, pour batter into a non-stick frying pan, spread it, making the sheets as thin as you can.
12. Turn off the fire when bubbles form.
13. Gently scrape the sides of the crepe sheet, use your hands to flip the sheet to cook the other side. Be careful, it's hot!
14. Use the remaining heat to cook til it turns brown.
Note: Do not stack crepe sheets when it is hot. It will stick! Place it on another bowl/towel til it cools then stack it up.
Time to decorate!
15. Pipe whipped cream onto crepe sheet, decorate with whatever condiments you have prepared.
16. Lastly, have fun trickling chocolate sauce on it.
17. Fold crepe and serve!
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I found this video while searching for 'Japanese breakfast'. Then it linked me to this crepe video, and immediately I book-marked it on my browser.
About the youtuber:
runnyrunny999 is a funny Japanese man who asks people to 'place an order' through a video response, and attempts to cook it with a recipe he finds. He teaches people how to cook in a beginner's level. Don't miss his eating responses.
Can't remember? Here's some screenshot recaps!
The queue reaches you and its your turn to order!
(brain recalls the 60+ plastic modules at the giant glass showcase)
'Hello, what can i get for you?' (In Japanese)
'I'll go for a sweet crepe!'
Well, I personally prefer anything sweet. Tried my first savoury crepe, a mushroom and cheese crepe, and disliked it from the first bite. I struggled to finish it, there were leftovers. The light, fluffy batter goes best with sweet fillings like strawberries and cream cheese. Add two scoops of ice-cream to bring it to its fullest potential (that's if you have some extra notes in your purse).
Do you like a Sweet or Savoury Crepe?
Say Crepe in Japanese
Note: 're' = 'leh' in Japanese.
Read as re with a longer sound, like: lehh
Crepes are a fun and must try snack when you get to Japan, so grab them while you're there! Especially in HARAJUKU!