The World’s second best melon-pan (Community interaction prompt 5)

The food that was very popular amongst students in our program was “メロンパンアイスクリーム”(Melon-pan Ice cream). Melon-pan is a type of bread that has a cookie-like exterior on the outside resembling a melon, hence the name melon-pan. This store serves a variety of ice cream; matcha, vanilla, and chocolate, it is sandwiched between a warm melon-pan and best eaten immediately. The combination of hot and cold, crunchy and creamy textures, makes melon-pan ice cream very popular for all ages and people across different countries.

melon-pan with matcha ice cream

Aside from the delicious food it serves, this little store caught our eyes because of its name “世界で二番目二おいしいメロンパン” which means “The World’s second-best Melon-pan”. During my interview with the chain store shopkeeper, I asked about the origins of this slightly self-deprecating name. The shopkeeper claimed that his mentor made the best melon pan in the world, so his could only be the second-best. I believe this very humble attitude is a representation of the Japanese culture of respect and politeness, especially to your elders. Because this is a chain store, the shopkeeper mentioned that all of the ingredients are sourced from Japan’s main island and shipped to Hakodate. This includes the melon pan batter, ice cream, and the soft cream. Although it is not made “in house”, I think this ensures a stable quality control without compromising flavor. 

The shopkeeper claims that the origins of this food are unknown, but it is likely that it was western roots and cuisine that shaped melon-pan roots. He also said that the popularity of this dish is due to the fact that they are taking two food “staples” that are both widely eaten everywhere around the world – bread and ice cream- into a snack that is undeniably delicious. From my many visits to that store, I always see people across all ages and a lot of tourists paying a visit to taste this delicacy. If you ever pay a visit to Japan, I highly recommend visiting the World’s second best melon-pan.