Conbini food review: Sakura red bean bun

Cherry-blossom season has all but drawn to a close in Japan, but there is just time for one more Sakura themed Conbini food review before the long wait until next spring. Given the relative disappointment of the Cherry Blossom-Flavored donut from the last review, we hope for better things from this Sakura red bean bun.

First, let’s talk about the shape of this thing. It is a sakura shape for sure. It definitely is reminiscent of the cherry-blossom flowers that have added an elegant flash of light pink to many of the often overwhelmingly grey streets of Tokyo in recent weeks. It is the right shape. But barely.

It looks like the kind of sakura shape drawn by a child before they’ve developed any kind of fine motor skills. Or similar to when someone tries to bake cookies for the first time and they expand dramatically outwards to form one huge conjoined cookie. Or a sakura shaped cushion with two and half times as much stuffing as it’s meant to have.

The filling is red bean paste, in Japanese: Anko (餡子, あんこ). It’s something I’ve had plenty of times before, often used in the filling of traditional Japanese sweets. It’s sweet but not overly so or sickly in any way. It’s quite subtle in its sweetness. I hesitate to use the word ‘earthy’ to describe it as, firstly, that doesn’t sound great, and, second, it’s not the most accurate word. But it is close enough I think. The point: red bean paste is great.

The particular red bean paste in this bun is pretty good. It’s not the best I’ve had, and it was maybe a little on the dryer side. But あんこ is delicious and underrated in equal measure.

Let’s make like a cherry blossom tree and bloom flowers once a year for a two week period. This bun looked a little silly with its over expanded edges and quite wide girth. But it was pretty good. If you didn’t get a chance to grab one this Sakura season, good luck next year! (Or just get any other red bean paste bun, it’s the exact same thing as this just not pink and badly sakura shaped.) Rating: commercial out of isation.

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