Japan is known worldwide for its yummy desserts — both for its traditional sweets like soft rice cake mochi and the newer, trendier stuff such as crepes that come in a variety of unconventional fillings.
Filipinos clearly love Japanese food concepts. Just look at the slew of Japanese food brands that have opened in the metro — and it looks like the trend won’t be stopping anytime soon, because another import from Japan may just become the next big thing.
The newcomer is called Melonpan Ice, a dessert shop that opened its first store in the country late last week at Eastwood Citywalk 2 in Quezon City.
A melonpan is a crispy sweet bun that resembles a melon (hence its name). At Melonpan Ice’s Osaka store, the buns are served with ice cream sandwiched in between, but the Philippine version serves gelato (PHP180/US$ 3.45) in a choice of: vanilla, chocolate, matcha, or strawberry.
The Melonpan in Eastwood also serves black coffee (8 oz for PHP80/ US$1.53 and 12 oz PHP90/US$1.72), iced black coffee (PHP100/US$1.91), and iced white coffee (PHP110/US$2.11).
They also sell rusks, crunchy cookies that one could eat with the gelato (225 grams for PHP250/US$4.49 and 450 grams for PHP450/US$8.63). Customers can also just get the melonpan bun itself (one piece for PHP85/US$1.63 and 5 pieces for PHP400/US$7.67).
Coconuts Manila tried the chocolate melonpan with a rusk. It’s the kind of dessert that’s perfect for a hot day. The bun was soft and slightly sweet, while the choco gelato was rich and melts in the mouth. The rusk was perfectly crunchy too and tasted really good when dipped into the choco gelato. It was a pretty large serving size, too — we could see how someone could end up feeling full just by eating one bun.
In an interview with Coconuts Manila, one of the store’s owners Katrina Uy explained that her co-owner Jonathan Liao discovered Melonpan when he was in Osaka three years ago.
She said: “It’s a food truck where a lot of people line up. It would take you 30 minutes before you could get your order there. We found it was really yummy and it had huge potential if it were brought here in the Philippines.”
However, she and her partners thought of changing the ice cream to gelato when they brought it here in the country. “We thought ice cream was cheap — gelato was richer and tastes better,” she explained.
Uy also says that Melonpan won’t stop with its Eastwood branch, and that the team is planning to open other outlets, possibly in Makati or Taguig, in the near future.
Melonpan Ice is at Eastwood Citywalk 2 in Libis, Quezon City
Open from Sundays to Thursdays from 9am – 11 pm; Fridays to Saturdays from 10am – 12 midnight