Tagged: unnecessary

Takoyaki Roll – Octopus Inception

Takoyaki Roll – $2.60 from Fuji-Pan, Goulburn St Sydney (next to Fujiya Restaurant, 605 George St)

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Long time readers may remember my first foray into snack takoyaki as a solid but otherwise underwhelming experience. Today I introduce you to another variation of the humble octopus ball, reimagined by those purveyors of strange snacks, Fuji-Pan. Without repeating myself too much, takoyaki is a traditional Japanese snack of small octopus dumpling balls, served at a  temperature usually reserved for molten magma, and garnished with bonito flakes that dance like Swayze in the heat.

In a fashion one can only describe as unnecessary, Fuji-Pan have made what on first glance appears to be a giant takoyaki, around the size of a cricket ball. My stomach lit up at the thought of such a feast, and all the tentacular goodness within. On biting into the snack though, I quickly realised that this wasn’t an oversized dumpling at all, but rather a cold bread roll made to look like a giant takoyaki, complete with sauces and some fairly limp bonito. I would by lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed at this point, not the least because I was again let down in the temperature department.

Upon further excavation though I uncovered something unexpected – the roll had some sort of filled centre. Then the eureka moment – the centre of the giant takoyaki was in fact another takoyaki, like some sort of edible babushka doll. I quickly dissected the inside takoyaki in the hope of finding a tiny pea-sized dumpling, but found only a chunk of cepholapod appendage.

On the one hand, Fuji-pan have done something incredible here, in creating a snack wholly enclosed inside a giant version of itself. However, this doesn’t hide the fact that neither the core nor crust resemble anything close to the piping hot takoyaki of my youth, and the bonito flakes look more like me dancing than the late great Swayze. Another promising snack let down by poor execution. 2 1/2 stars.

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Originality – Excellent

Execution – Poor

Value – Fair

Overall judgement: 2 1/2

Chicken-mushroom doughnut – the next offical jam doughnut variation?

Chicken-mushroom doughnut – $2.60 from Breadtop, plenty of locations all over greater Sydney (except for Sussex St which has closed)

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To say that jam doughnuts have played a significant role in my life would not be an understatement. When I reminisce on my many years on this earth, I remember numerous occasions when simple jam-filled balls of dough deep fried in fat until the jam resembles molten magma have sustained me through long nights and cold winters. Needless to say, when I first saw the family resemblance in Breadtop’s chicken-mushroom doughnut, the fond memories came flooding back, and I purchased it on the spot. Triumph or atrocity? Read on.

In a similar vein to Barby’s cheese and bacon, Breadtop has taken something that western snack eaters know and love (the jam doughnut) and given it an unexpected twist (by replacing the jam with a chicken and mushroom sauce). A quick search of the font of all knowledge finds that the jam filled doughnuts exist in regional variations in over 16 countries, including Australia (although largely limited to South Australia, home of Fritz). So far the chicken-mushroom has not been recognised as an official JD variant, though as the late great Bob Dylan said, the times, they are a changing.

The chicken-mushroom donut suffers from many of the same symptoms as Breadtop’s other offerings, largely inconsistency. Some days, on biting into the bulbous mass, you’ll be greeted with a warm oozing stream of fungo-poultry paste, other days, a cold hard slap in the face. Unfortunately the doughnuts seem to be more hit than miss, and eating cold chicken rarely inspires confidence in a snacker. That said, I do keep going back, hoping to find the enveloping feeling of comfort and safety that comes with a good fried doughnut. 2 and a half stars.

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Originality – Excellent

Execution – Average

Value – OK

Overall judgement: 2 1/2

Tuna Dog – Best Left for Cats

Tuna Dog – $2.60 from Fuji-Pan, Goulburn St Sydney (next to Fujiya Restaurant, 605 George St)

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My last trip to Fuji-Pan left me wanting more, so it was inevitable that I would return. This time, while perusing the various snack booths, I saw a little face peeking out at me. I soon realised that I had stumbled across an entire litter of that rarest of creatures, the Tuna Dog. Easily recognised by their flat boiled egg faces and mustard features, Tuna Dogs are timid fellows, often only seen between the hours of 11:00am and 2:30pm when they come out to feed. Ironically, most Tuna Dogs end up being eaten themselves, by those very people that the Dogs believe are there to feed them.

Distantly related to the hot-dog, the Tuna Dog is essentially a bread roll filled with tuna mornay, and with a face. Now I don’t know about you, but when faced with the choice between a snack with a face, and anything else, I’ll choose the face 9 times out of 10. The Dog itself is a satisfying snack, the mornay a good balance of tuna, mayo, corn, and onions, with the eggy mustard face bringing a slight warmth to the palette. I found myself content with my first bite, not excited, but not underwhelmed either.

If anything, the Tuna Dog is only brought down by its honesty – it’s a bread roll with tuna mornay on it. In my books, tuna mornay isn’t really a snack food, and putting something on a bread roll doesn’t quite make it so. Although Caroline, the neighbours cat, must disagree as she’s been eyeing it off for the last five minutes. Three stars.

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Originality – Fair

Execution – Good

Value – Fair

Overall judgement: 3

The Perfect Roll – not my idea of perfection

The Perfect Roll – $2.70 from Barby, 2 locations in Haymarket

Banana. Chocolate. Bread roll. Grated cheese. I knew I was going out on a limb with this one, but it had to be done.

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My hyperbole radar was flashing wildly as I wandered into Barby, and found what they claim to be The Perfect Roll. To add to my alarm, I noticed that this was one of those snacks I have coined a ‘fence sitter’, one that can’t decide if it wants to be sweet or savoury, so attempts both at the same time. I often find that these snacks tend either towards excellence or oblivion, as there’s little margin for error when two worlds collide.

Despite the unorthodox choice of ingredients, the snack had promise. Sweet and savoury are fast becoming friendly bedfellows, as demonstrated by the rise of salted caramel. The Perfect Roll however, suffers from a lack of execution, rendering it far from perfect.

The chocolate, coating the banana, appears to be a form of compound cooking chocolate, a big no-no in my books. This does allow it to remain solid at room temperature, but at the expense of taste and texture. On the other hand, the grated cheese used seems to be real block cheese. This seems a positive step, until you realise that grated cheese when left out in the air quickly hardens and becomes oily. The resultant roll is edible, but I wouldn’t go much further than that. Not my idea of perfection. 2 stars.

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Originality – Excellent

Execution – Poor

Value – Fair (if you’re into that sort of thing)

Overall judgement: 2