Savory seafood pancakes from a can don’t exactly sound appetizing, but will we eat our words?

It seems like canned goods have been becoming progressively more and more impressive in Japan over the last several years. For instance, the canned omelet from a vending machine and canned space mackerel that we recently tried far exceeded our expectations of the quality we predicted.

Our Japanese-language correspondent Mr. Sato in particular has a special penchant for trying out the latest and greatest canned goods. Luckily, he recently discovered the fun Kandafuru Ecute Edition specialty store inside Tokyo’s JR Shimbashi Station. This store introduces canned versions of regional products from around the country in a convenient location for all travelers. Mr. Sato was surprised to discover, however, that the vast majority of goods in the store were completely unknown to him.

▼ Kandafuru Ecute Edition Shimbashi

He was intrigued by many of them, but the canned kakioko captured his interest the most. Kakioko, short for “kaki [oyster] okonomiyaki,” is a local specialty in Hinase, Okayama Prefecture, whose industry revolves around the oyster trade. A packet of the popular Otafuku okonomiyaki sauce was also attached to the outside of the can. He purchased his prize for a steep 950 yen (US$7.28) and brought it home, nearly bursting with anticipation.

Mr. Sato was still a bit skeptical as to whether this could really be okonomiyaki. A quick check of the ingredients label revealed that yes, the product was indeed titled “oyster okonomiyaki canned good”–it couldn’t be much clearer than that.

It was the moment of truth as he peeled back the lid…

…to reveal the contents inside. Ta da!

What…exactly is going on here?!

It was hard to discern the shape of the food inside the can so he shook it out onto the plate. Now the two layers resembled something a little more like okonomiyaki, but it looked like they had been packed upside down. This was the first time in his life seeing canned okonomiyaki so he didn’t really know what to expect.

He heated the dish for one minute in the microwave as instructed and poured the Otafuku sauce over it. Now this was definitely more like it.

Upon taking a bite, he discovered that the umami of the oyster flavor was delightful. Its taste definitely defied his low expectations of a canned good.

In fact, he found several small intact oysters inside of the okonomiyaki. That must be why the oyster flavor came through so strongly. Yup, this was an unexpected success in his book.

Mr. Sato hopes to try even more surprising canned local specialty products from Kandafuru in the near future. It also got him wondering–is there anything that Japanese companies can’t package in a can? At this point, we’ve seen everything from canned beef bowls to canned sushi, so anything is impossible!

Store information
Kandafuru Ecute Edition Shimbashi / カンダフル エキュートエディション新橋店
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shimbashi 2-17 JR Shimbashi Station, 1st floor, outside the north ticket gate
東京都港区新橋2丁目17 JR新橋駅1階北改札外
Open: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Monday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (Sunday)

Reference: Kandafuru
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