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Super Conbini Find of the Day: Melon Pan
by Evan Miller on Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:06 am
The convenience store – or “conbini” in Japanese – has quickly become a symbol for modern Japan that everyone can identify with. They offer a little bit of everything: food, beer, bento, concert tickets, toys, and a seemingly endless array of other stuff. During this trip, I’ll be stopping by a few conbinis to see how much cool/delicious/weird stuff I can find. First up: Melon Pan, a.k.a. Melon Bread.

What is it?: For anyone familiar with Azumanga Daioh, you may remember that Osaka is very fond of Melon Pan. It’s easy to see why: much like Osaka herself, Melon Pan is light, airy/air headed, somewhat sugary, and has almost nothing in common with the thing it/she is named after.

It doesn’t taste like fruit?: Nope. Melon Pan gets its name from the shape it has – like half of a melon.

The Good: Imagine that you could take a sugar cookie and inflate it. That’s what Melon Pan is. It’s not a donut, but it’s not just a hunk of bread either. Bonus: some shops carry multiple flavors of Melon Pan, one of which includes (*gasp!*) Melon Pan that is actually melon-flavored. Good Melon Pan has a nice crunchy layer of sugary goodness on top, but is soft and chewy underneath.

The Bad: Poorly made Melon Pan can end up tasting like a hunk of bread that someone sprinkled sugar on. Boo, hiss.

The Verdict: It’s simple, it’s sweet… it’s perfect. If you decide to open some sort of bread import company and/or yeast smuggling ring, try Melon Pan first. Besides, you could always use more sugar in your diet, right?
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