Chili peppers, pickled ginger, and potato do battle with anko, mayo and chocolate inside these seemingly hard-to-stomach combos.

From 17 April, the discount arm of Lawson convenience stores Lawson 100 will begin selling their Above and Beyond Series of baked goods. According to Lawson, these items are specially designed to be both eye-catchingly bizarre and unexpectedly delicious.

Those who frequent Japanese convenience stores know well that their range of baked goods changes on a monthly basis. In the case of Lawson 100, about 100 different types of bread and cakes grace their shelves over the course of a year. But to accomplish that, their R&D has to come up with around 300 concepts, and in doing so, some wild ideas occur.

The Above and Beyond Series is a look back to some of those overlooked ideas that were shot down because they “would never sell.” First up in this series are the three following items which really do dare you to try them.

An Donut (with Violently Spicy Seasoning)

Although it sounds like a grammatical misstep, an “an donut” is a donut filled with anko (sweet bean paste). The real beauty of anko is that it has a very smooth and subtle sweetness that doesn’t hit you over the head with sugariness like other confections do, making an an donut a really nice light snack.

However, in this case the donut is also dusted with powdered chili peppers. Sweet and spicy is a tricky combination to pull off, but with the right balance it can work. In this case, however, anko and chili peppers seem about as balanced as a drag race between a sensible mini van and Ferrari.

Pickled Ginger Lovers’ Donut

Japanese pickled ginger known as beni shoga, takes the already spicyish taste of ginger and soaks it in the ultra-tangy umezu pickling agent. The result is a bold, smack-to-the-face zing which is used to garnish a variety of dishes.

I tend to think of it as the culinary equivalent of receiving one of those singing robot fish as a present. It’s not all that bad, but still, when a pile of beni shoga arrives on my plate I quietly groan and think to myself “what am I supposed to do with this…”

Now Lawson has decided to take that feeling and cram it all into a flaky donut. Of course, simply stuffing a donut with pickled ginger could be construed as assault, so they also cut it with some mayo to smooth things out a bit.

Choco Choco Croquette Burger

In Japan, a croquette is a deep fried wad of mashed potato along with maybe some meat and vegetables mixed in for a greasy and savory side dish or, in the case of a croquette burger, sandwich.

But this time Lawson has opted to smother the fried potato puck with not one, but two different chocolate sauces (lest you thought they stuttered while naming this thing). They cryptically describe the sauces as “smooth” and “crunchy,” adding that the crunchy sauce mimics the crisp texture of the croquette somehow.

Lawson 100’s lead developer Rie Miyanaga would like to remind everyone that these items are not jokes, and despite their unconventional looks, they do taste delicious. Whether that’s an opinion we can all agree with remains to be seen, but as someone who has been pleasantly surprised by kimchi & cola, pudding & ramen, hot water & Pringles, and wasps & crackers, I’m willing to keep an open mind.

Source, images: Lawson 100
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