Ikebukuro Bread Festival serves up hybrid rice bowl burgers too.

Mr. Sato is a busy guy with a busy stomach. Rice crackers so popular that an entire family can only buy one pack at a time? Dragon palace-themed multi-restaurant culinary pleasure quarters? All in a day’s work, and a day’s meals, for our ace reporter.

So it was with great pleasure that Mr. Sato recently discovered a slew of ways to multitask his munching at a downtown Tokyo department store.

The Ikebukuro Tobu department store is currently holding the latest iteration of its periodic Bread Festival, with guest restaurants and bakeries offering their best baked goods for sale in the store’s event space. This being autumn, a lot of the items are sweet potato pastries, but Mr. Sato wasn’t here simply on a dessert run, but to pick up breakfast too, and he quickly found three suitable candidates collectively called the Kawaridane (“Unusual-Type”) Burgers.

Made by Cafe Cocona, all three use brioche buns, which is sort of special, but what makes them really unique is that they’re all burger/rice bowl hybrids. For example, the Katsudon Burger (734 yen [US$5.30] has the contents of a katsudon/pork cutlet bowl sandwiched between its brioche slices.

Not in the mood for fried food? There’s also the Oyakodon Burger (705 yen), a chicken-and-egg bowl with buns subbing in for the bowl.

And last, for those with aristocratic tastes, the Unatamadon Burger (1,058 yen) with a beautiful slice of unagi (freshwater eel), egg, and rice.

Mr. Sato, of course, bought and ate all of them. Their brioche buns were delicious, soft and fluffy, with a sweetness that grows the longer you chew them. The rice bowl toppings inside the sandwiches were also outstanding, even if his taste buds experienced a little confusion trying to sort out which carbohydrate sensations were coming from the bread and which from the rice.

But even with how much variety the Kawaridane Burgers represent, there was an even more surprising food fusion to be found, in the form of the…

…Curry Udon Croquette Burger!

Yes, four things we dearly love, all held in a single hand and to be enjoyed in a single bite. Credit for this envelope-pushing temptation goes to Ikemasu, the same Tokyo restaurant that created the Tempura Udon Dog that Mr. Sato dined on earlier this year.

True to its name, the 720-yen Curry Udon Croquette Burger is an extra-thick croquette with curry roux mixed with the mashed potato filling, plus udon noodles, inside a bun. Mr. Sato has eaten curry, udon, croquettes, burgers, curry udon, curry croquettes, and croquette burgers before. All four of the Curry Udon Croquette Burger’s elements at one time was an eating-experience first for him, and one he doesn’t regret at all, as the curry has the great mix of spicy and sweet notes characteristic of Japanese-style curry. He couldn’t help but notice, though, that it was somewhat hard to notice the udon. When eating udon from a bowl with chopsticks, the noodles are pretty long, since you’re supposed to slurp them. For the Curry Udon Croquette Burger, though, the noodles have been cut into shorter pieces to make them easier to eat in sandwich form, and so they don’t make their presence as noticeable as Mr. Sato had been hoping.

Still, any of these four hybrid sandwiches will leave your stomach both happy and full. A word of caution, though: supplies are limited. At the Bread Festival, which is going on until November 22, Ikemasu is selling only 50 Curry Udon Croquette Burgers a day, and each of Cafe Cocona’s Kawaridane Burgers are limited to just 30 a day. So while they’re great choices for anyone who’s having a hard time picking just one thing to eat, you won’t want to waste too much time before picking them up.

Event information
Ikebukuro Bread Festival / 池袋パン祭
Venue: Tobu Department Store (Ikebukuro Branch) / 東武百貨店(池袋店)
Address: Tokyo-to,

Photos ©SoraNews24
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