We thought we knew pancakes, but boy, were we wrong!

Our team prides itself on both seeking out and sampling good food, all in the name of science and hard-hitting journalism. Among our favorite treats are none other than heaping stacks of fluffy, buttery pancakes, which we’ve even adapted to bake in a Japanese rice cooker with epic results.

In other words, we thought we knew pretty much everything there is to know about the delicious comfort food, that is until one of our Japanese writers made an unexpected discovery–there’s a place in Japan that sells pancakes topped with baby anchovies!

The Shonan coastal region of Japan is only a short train ride away from the greater Tokyo area. In particular, the shoreline along Kanagawa Prefecture’s Fujisawa City is a popular seaside escape for both the local residents and frazzled workers from Tokyo who need a quick getaway at the beach. The area is also home to Enoshima, a small island connected to the mainland by a short bridge. Enoshima boasts a shrine, lighthouse, all kinds of delicious seafood, and on the far side, sea caverns which you can explore for a small fee. Though some people feel like the island has become a bit too touristy in recent years, I personally think that Enoshima makes a fantastic day trip from Tokyo to experience a more laid back Japanese lifestyle by the ocean.

The popular Hawaiian-themed Aloha Beach Cafe (アロハビーチカフェ) is located on Enoshima. It offers an impressive and clearly Hawaiian/American-influenced menu, which includes loco moco, pancakes, waffles, eggs Benedict, acai-based foods, and even clam chowder. Furthermore, some of those dishes make use of a food famous to the Shonan region of Japan in general: shirasu, or young anchovies.

It’s not unusual in the area to spot menu items such as shirasu-don, but boy were we in for a shock when we happened to see the following listing on Aloha Beach Cafe’s online menu:

Enoshima meibutsu shirasu pankeeki [Enoshima famous product shirasu pancakes], 1,500 yen (US$13.88)

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Yikes! Are those really our beloved pancakes topped with baby fish, ooba/shiso (perilla) leaves, and grated daikon?! Say it ain’t so!

▼Yep, those tiny black specks are fish eyes.


And that’s not all, because the cafe is offering another creative menu item for a short time only:

▼”Limited time only: shirasu hiyashi chuuka (chilled Chinese noodle) pancakes, 1,800 yen ($16.64)”


So which sounds more appetizing to you–the special Enoshima shirasu-topped pancakes, or the limited Chinese noodle shirasu pancakes?

▼An assortment of dishes from the menu. The Chinese noodle shirasu pancakes are displayed in the upper left corner.



▼(Or, how about some shirasu loco moco for 1,900 yen/$17.58?)


I personally would prefer to try the “Tiramisu and Kona coffee waffles” at the Aloha Beach Cafe, but maybe, just maybe, someone could convince me to try the shirasu ones instead…if I had a big incentive.

Luckily for me, it seems public opinion about the idea of shirasu pancakes is mixed among Japanese net users, too:

Shirasu pancakes? I’m not a huge fan of when people insist on making ‘collaborations’ of anything and everything. Does it taste…good? Really? (Doubtful eyes)”

“The shirasu pancakes at Enoshima were surprisingly good. I want to go back soon!”

Either way, the seaside Aloha Beach Cafe is definitely a place worth checking out. Just don’t come crying to us if you order pancakes and discover a mound of baby fish on them instead of syrup…

▼The cafe’s bright and inviting interior


Aloha Beach Cafe/アロハビーチカフェ
1-6-8 Enoshima, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken 〒251-0036
〒251-0036 神奈川県藤沢市江ノ島1-6-8

Weekdays 10am-8pm; Weekends & Holidays 9am-7pm

Access (by train):
Odakyu Enoshima Line, Katase-Enoshima Station ~ 10-minute walk
小田急江ノ島線 片瀬江ノ島 徒歩10分

Enoshima Electric Railway (“Enoden”), Enoshima Station ~ 14-minute walk
江ノ島電鉄 江ノ島 徒歩14分

Shonan Monorail Enoshima Line, Shonan-Enoshima Station ~ 14-minute walk
湘南モノレール 湘南江の島 徒歩14分



Original article by Yayoi Saginomiya
Source/images: Aloha Beach Cafe
[ Read in Japanese ]