A blog about food and culture. Well, some culture.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Train Treats: Tamachi
This crazy space egg is actually a hot dog stand, solving at last the age old problem of hot dog stands not being at all cute. Or that clean. Two of these adorable little shops face each other right in the station once you are through the turnstile at Tamachi on the Yamanote train line. Which is perfect when you are running late for work. Hot dogs are a breakfast option in Japan--I know, it sounds nuts at first, like how Alyssa Milano had a record deal here in the 90s. But really, it's sausage, bread, sometimes cheese--breakfast! It doesn't hurt that the dogs here are hammy and snappy, which is nice in the morning.
I love the surrealist pastoral display. Especially since some of the little pigs have ribbon collars. By far the best styled hot dog ever.
The other stand is staffed by an identically dressed and pony-tailed woman. I think at a certain time each day they rumble. But this one sells waffles! Breakfast again? Not so much. Mostly these are considered sweet treats here, and they are nearly always Belgian style (ie. not the ice cream and syrup smothered kind I used to pass out into in Brooklyn).
So many flavors! Plain, maple, strawberry, cream cheese, honey-lemon, chocolate... there are even bite-sized ones, though they were sold out this time. The minis, or "puchi" as they are called in imitation of the French petit, are rice flour based, which makes them chewy and soft, kind of like a french twist doughnut, but less airy. Tossed in table sugar, they are a delight. This is why they sell out.
Tai Puchi is the name on this little truck parked outside the station most weekday afternoons. They sell mini versions of an old fashioned Japanese sweet, tai yaki. They are only shaped like sea bream, or tai. Inside they are filled with sweet bean. Usually they are a little smaller than your hand, but this truck sells bite-sized ones with a bevy of fillings. The sign on the passenger window is for green apple cream.
I have a hard time resisting tai yaki anyway, but making them tiny leaves me entirely helpless before them. So light and pancakey! I went with the traditional bean, plus chocolate and vanilla cream. Carrying the paper bag of hot, fresh little fish reminded me of picking up zeppole--you have to pop at least one in your mouth right away, all warm and sweet. Then you listen to them moving lightly in the bag all the way home. If three or four make it to the rest of your family, well, that's a moral victory.