Gourmet and photogenic, sandos are a must in Japanese street food

This Japanese sandwich made with ultra-soft sandwich bread is the latest street food star. Beautiful and good at the same time, it is all the rage on social networks and at the new gourmet counters which revisit it or offer it in a traditional version.

In impeccable bermudas and shirt, Kaito Hori is coolly elegant, like Benchy, his Parisian sandos counter, those Japanese sandwiches that are as beautiful as they are delicious. No false decorative note in its small restaurant with sleek furniture all in blond wood. No wonder: Kaito Hori, before being in the kitchen, was a fashion designer, stylist for the Commuun brand. There is no doubt that during this period he developed a gift for capturing trends. A quality that he now puts at the service of Benchy. Because, in addition to the neat atmosphere of its coffee-shop, its specialty, the fruit sando, fits perfectly with the times, making all fans of Instagrammable recipes run on the left bank. It must be said that this snack has allure! Made with two generous slices of sandwich bread, it is garnished with a cream made from mascarpone and whipped cream that highlights the color of seasonal fruits.

beautiful and good

If it borrows its ingredients from European cuisine, the graphics of this sweet sando respond perfectly to the codes of Japanese plastic, simple and yet sophisticated. “By opening Benchy, says Kaito Hori, I wanted to introduce the variety of Japanese street food. The sando is not very well known in France, but, nevertheless, it has existed for more than half a century in Japan. A hundred years ago Japan opened up to the rest of the world, and that’s how it discovered the sandwich and imagined its own way of concocting it, combining the convenience of eating with a graphic approach. It is this gourmet and photogenic aspect that seduced Arthur Cohen who, last spring, inaugurated Ototo, a pop-up restaurant 100% sandos.

Tamago Sando d’Ototo Bernhard Winkelman

“With my partner, we are fascinated by Japanese culture. This is why we created, in the Marais, in Paris, in 2020, Onii-San, a izakaya, the equivalent of a bistro where the Japanese usually come to eat small plates accompanied by sake. It is in this type of address that Japanese gastronomy is very creative, and it is while browsing them to imagine the Onii-San menu that we ate delicious sandos made with well-chosen, even luxurious products. This was a surprise, as sando is most commonly found in small 7-Eleven type supermarkets, and the most common is the egg sando, the egg sando. We have therefore decided to put some on the menu of Onii-San in gastronomic versions, like the one at wagyu, Kobe beef. It has become one of our best, and that thanks to Instagram!”

“Traditional sando is made with shokupan a sandwich bread made with milk and tangzhong , a sourdough or rather a flour roux cooked in water, invented in Hokkaido, Japan. »

Arthur Cohen, co-creator of Ototo, a Parisian restaurant dedicated to sandos.

The success of Onii-San’s sandos gives birth to an idea. Why not dedicate a place to them? “A more fun, more playful, more offbeat address,” says Arthur Cohen. And so it was that in April, rue des Écouffes, in the 4e arrondissement of Paris, Ototo, with its facade painted by the artist André, opened its doors. And it is the rush for sandos, especially the chicken one which represents 50% of sales. “It must be said that it is prepared with yellow chickens raised in the open air”, underlines Arthur Cohen. Because what characterizes the Ototo menu is the quality of the products and the precision of the recipes. The team thus worked for a long time on the development of its sandwich bread. “Traditional sando is made with shokupana sandwich bread made with milk and tangzhonga sourdough or rather a flour roux cooked in water, invented in Hokkaido, Japan.

Salty or sweet

Fruit sando (strawberries, kiwi and mango) Bernhard Winkelman

This bread is very moist and very greedy, because it retains its elasticity, especially when it is under-baked. And it is also very digestible. Nothing to do with the ham and butter baguette or the burger bun. Temple of this Japanese bread in France: Carré Pain de Mie, bakery-restaurant, whose mono-product concept has existed since 2013 in Tokyo, and which was established in Paris, rue Rambuteau, in 2017. We learn on the store’s website that sandwich bread was “imported into Japan at the end of the 19e century by an Englishman, but that its consumption became popular only after the Second World War under the impetus of the occupying American armies”. On the shop displays, there are three kinds of sandwich bread, all well molded: soft mochi mochi, reminiscent of rice dough, fondant shittori, and the crispiest sakkuri. You can also order savory and sweet sandwiches to take away, clubs, croques, toast… None of the preparations bears the name of sando, however… Even if some have all the aesthetic qualities to display it!

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