The newest addition to the menu of the sweet life, or a crackpot idea that’ll leave you feeling salty?

In Japan, pancakes aren’t seen as a breakfast staple, but as a sweet, mid-day snack or after-meal dessert. Japanese cafes’ pancakes often come not only covered in maple syrup, but topped with towers of whipped cream and piled with fruit, with sweet decadence being their big attraction.

So we were a little surprised to find that one Japanese company instead takes the salty path by making soy sauce for pancakes.

Our Japanese-language reporter Meg stumbled across this unusual condiment on her way back from checking out one of Japan’s treasured meteor-forged tanto daggers in Toyama Prefecture. Her route back to Tokyo took her through Ishikawa Prefecture, the home of Kaneyo Soy Sauce, which has been in business for more than 100 years.

But even though soy sauce is used in a ton of traditional Japanese dishes, Meg had never thought to try putting it on pancakes. She started with a smell check, wondering if perhaps the Pancake Soy Sauce would have a syrupy smell, but that isn’t the case at all. Instead, it has a slightly bitter yet mellow and deep aroma, which is sort of reminiscent of the marinade used for yakitori chicken skewers.

▼ “Yakitori?” muses Meg, showing off her mysterious power to make her inner monologue manifest as visible Japanese text.

Still, there’s something that gives the Pancake Soy Sauce an aroma that’s just a little different from ordinary soy sauce. Meg didn’t want to look at the ingredient list just yet, though, since she wanted her taste test to be free of any preconceived influences or expectations by knowing what the components were before she’d tasted the final product.

Pancakes procured, Meg began drizzling the soy sauce onto them, and could tell that its consistency is a little thicker than normal, non-pancake-oriented varieties. That said, it’s still not as thick as maple syrup, and before Meg had even finished pouring the Pancake Soy Sauce, it had already been largely absorbed into the fluffy cakes.

This turned out to be a good thing, though, because it meant that when Meg took a bite, the flavor of the Pancake Soy Sauce had made its way throughout the entire pancake, delivering a consistent flavor no matter which part of the pancake she was eating, and that flavor is great! There’s a faint hint of sweetness to the sauce, but it’s primarily a salty sensation which in turn helps to draw out the sweetness of the pancake batter itself, and also provides a rich finish to every mouthful.

No longer able to resist satisfying her curiosity, Meg grabbed the bottle and turned it to the back label, where she found out…

…that the special ingredients in the Pancake Soy Sauce are touches of honey, apple juice, and red wine, all sourced locally from Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula, plus a touch of mirin (sweet cooking sake).

Now that she knew what was in it, Meg decided to experiment further by pouring the Pancake Soy Sauce onto some non-pancake things, like mitarashi dango dumplings

…and vanilla ice cream, both of which turned out to make for excellent combinations. Like with the pancakes, the tempered saltiness of the soy sauce made the sweetness of the desserts more pronounced in contrast, especially for the ice cream.

Meg found her bottle of Pancake Soy Sauce priced at 800 yen (US$7.40) for sale at the Michi no Eki Togi Umi Kaido local products shop in the Ishikawa town of Shika. Kaneyo is yet to offer the product through online sales yet, however, so Meg will be checking back with the company’s website and keeping her fingers crossed, since she’s now found out that pancakes and soy sauce is a team-up she wants in her sweet life.

Related: Pancake Soy Sauce Website, Michi no Eki Togi Umi Kaido
Photos ©SoraNews24
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