2014 is the year of the horse, according to the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac animals play an important role in Japanese new year traditions, even though they no longer follow the Chinese lunar calendar. Themed goods featuring the zodiac animal of the year can be seen almost everywhere you go when the new year comes around. Yokohama originated bakery Pompadour created this adorable horse character bun for the occasion!

Wait, what? There’s real horse meat in it?!

The Japanese have been known to eat horse meat, especially enjoying it as basashi (horse sashimi). But the raw delicacy doesn’t come cheap and definitely doesn’t commonly appear on the dining tables of regular families. This cute snack, Uma no Pan (horse bread), makes the pricey meat available at an affordable price of 189 yen (US$1.80). And word is, it’s selling like hotcakes.

But how does it taste? Our reporter Chie tries it, and this is her verdict:

  • The horse has an adorable face.

The savory snack fits in the palm, is decorated with shredded leek for a mane, and raisins for its eyes, giving it a cute and kind look. Plus, it’s a charming white horse! Fresh out of a fairytale.

  • There is horse meat in it!

This horse bun has a savory filling of horse meat stewed in soy sauce and sugar. Horse meat in a horse bun, this thing’s the real deal! The bread has a soft and chewy texture, which matches the flavorful filling in perfect harmony. The raisin eyes add a timely burst of flavor and boosts the overall satisfaction factor! It’s kind of similar to eating a steamed meat bun, but this meat bun would taste just as fine left cold.

  • There’s also a sweeter “Snake Bun”.

Last year was the year of the snake, so they made a snake character bread to commemorate the passing of the year. This one’s shaped like a coronet, with a comical head attached to it. It has a pudding cream filling (no snake meat, don’t worry). Unlike the horse bun, the bread for the snake bun is slightly sweet, fluffy and soft, striking a great balance with its cream filling. This one’s yummy too!



The question is, cultural differences aside, could you bring yourself to eat a pastry containing horse meat?

Reference: Pompadour
Images: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]