You get two very unusual crossover products.

We love a good crossover collaboration in Japan, and for a limited time there’s one currently in play between Maisen, a long-established tonkatsu restaurant founded in 1965, and Kimuraya Sohonten, a long-established bread maker founded in 1869.

If those names sound familiar, that’s because Maisen is famous for its tonkatsu sandwiches, which contain a breaded fried pork cutlet in between two pillowy slices of bread, and Kimuraya is famous for its round buns filled with different types of sweet bean paste, which are so good they supply them to the Imperial household.

So what happens when these two companies join forces and combine their powers? We get Katsu Curry Bread and an An Butter Sandwich.

Both these products were released in limited quantities in a limited area in November last year, but due to their immense popularity, they’ve now returned for a nationwide release from 21 September.

This means more people will be able to enjoy the unique products, and we picked ours up at the Kimuraya store inside the Isetan department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

▼ So let’s take a closer look at the two new items, starting with the Katsu Curry Bread, which retails for 352 yen (US$2.44).

The package contains the names and logos of the two companies, which is an unusual sight in itself, seeing as we’re not used to seeing them side-by-side like this. These are two very esteemed companies that usually keep to their own lanes, so the package itself is enough to attract the attention of anyone who sees it.

▼ Add in the fact that it says “Katsu Curry Bread” in Japanese but “Cutlet Curry Dough Nut” in English, and our interest is sufficiently piqued.

For us, a good curry bread starts with the exterior casing, and when it’s fried with a generous coating of breadcrumbs like this, it’s a sign of good things to come. According to Kimuraya, the creator of this product, the curry bread, or “curry dough nut”, contains their company’s special curry sauce in the filling, along with Maisen’s famous pork cutlet, which is then encased in Kimuraya dough and finished with Maisen’s breadcrumbs.

▼ A true collaboration.

The cutlet inside looks exactly like the ones we usually see in the middle of Maisen’s tonkatsu sandwiches, while the bun has the same airy texture as those you’d get at Kimuraya. While the products looked familiar, eating them together hit us with an unexpected explosion of flavour, with the curry delivering a serious punch of spice.

▼ It was deliciously spicy and amazingly soft — so soft you can cut through the bun with chopsticks.

The only criticism we have with the curry bread is they might’ve done well to dial down the spiciness as some curry bread lovers might prefer a milder filling. We love a spicy filling, though, so we were happy with the bun, and looking forward to discovering what the sandwich had in store for us next.

▼ The An Butter Sandwich (340 yen), combines Maisen’s soft white bread with Kimuraya’s “an”, or “bean paste”.

We couldn’t help but smile as we pulled the trio of sandwiches out of the package, as they looked exactly like the ones you get at Maisen, but instead of having a fried cutlet inside them, they were filled with red bean paste and butter!

▼ Mmmm, so much butter…

While the bread here is identical to the ones made by Maisen for their tonkatsu sandwiches, the red bean paste has been specially made by Kimuraya to perfectly complement the flavour of the bread. The product itself has been created by Maisen, who clearly worked closely with Kimuraya during its production, as the red bean paste is sweet and jelly-like, almost like a yokan in its texture and sweetness, which highlights the craftsmanship of the bean bun specialist while taking the soft white bread to new levels of deliciousness.

The An Butter Sandwich is said to be even tastier when lightly grilled in an oven toaster, so definitely give that a try if you get your hands on a pack. Both these products are absolutely delicious, and maintain the high levels of quality we expect from the famous companies behind their creation.

It’s nice to see two esteemed names in the food world come together to combine their powers for the good of our taste buds. Now if only they upsized their products to match the giant proportions of Kimuraya’s limited-edition sakura bun. Wouldn’t that be something!

Store information
Kimuraya Shinjuku Isetan / 木村屋 新宿伊勢丹
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-14-1 Isetan Shinjuku Main Branch Basement 1F
東京都新宿区新宿3-14-1 伊勢丹新宿本店 地下1階
Open: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Closed: New Year’s Day

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