I’ve always found it intriguing that the same word can have such similar pronunciations in different languages. Take, for example, the word “bread” in English. When you push it through Google Translate, you get パン (pan) in Japanese, pain in French and 빵 (ppang) in Korean.
What triggered this random thought? Well, Japanese pan of course.
We were at the Gokoku Japanese Bakery at Millenia Walk just after picking up a delicious bottle of nama yuzu sake. This was our second visit there, the first being six months earlier. Although if you were to compare the monthly top sellers chart during the two separate visits, it wouldn’t seem like any time had actually passed.
The breads from Gokoku are definitely pricey, especially if you compare them with those sold in neighbourhood bakeries. But any shop with Japanese branding in Singapore tends to come with a healthy price premium. And to be fair, they have a wide range of flavours and the dense yet soft and chewy texture is particularly pleasing.
Apparently, their number one best seller, the Shichifuku Pan is made with seven ingredients, five of which are a variety of grains. And the best way to eat their buns is to spritz it with water before re-heating for one minute.
It reminded me of how the crazy expensive Balmuda toaster works, where you’re supposed to add a small thimble of water into a slot on the top, which it then uses to toast/steam your bread to achieve the perfect consistency.
Guess which country makes the Balmuda toaster? You only have one guess, but I’m quite sure you’ll get it right.
The Yuzu Walnut Komeko that we bought that day was finished soon after we reached home, together with the nama yuzu sake. The remaining three buns were kept for breakfast the following morning.
I didn’t realise it then, but looking back, we had actually bought three of the five advertised top sellers, proving once again that I’m easily influenced.
There was a limited-edition matcha variation of the #1 Gokoku Shichifuku Pan, which was frankly, quite meh. The matcha flavour wasn’t prominent, even though it was evident from the colour of the bun. Next time, I’ll just stick to the original flavour.
The #2 Malt Kurumi Pan was much better, and was our favourite of the batch. The crunchy walnut pieces offered a nice contrast to the chewy bun. Following close behind was the #4 Mochi Mochi Cranberry, which had the consistency of mochi and was studded with cranberries. I always like it when product names perfectly describe the product itself.
We’ll probably be back at Gokoku sometime later this year, and there’s a very high chance that the top sellers chart will feature the same five buns. Since we haven’t tried the #3 Mochi Mochi Cheese and #5 Signature Hokkaido Red Bean Anpan, we might as well get those.
After that, maybe I’ll be able to break free from their powerful subliminal messaging and exercise my free will to choose something new and interesting.
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