Well, this was a bizarre discovery. 

Japan is famous for its pre-made sandwiches, commonly known as “lunch packs”, which usually consist of two slices of crustless soft white bread filled with ingredients like ramenPizza Hut Pizza toppings. and even curry made by a former sumo wrestler.

Yamazaki Baking Company, the world’s largest bread-baking corporation, makes most of the lunch packs in Japan, but on a recent trip up to the northern prefecture of Aomori, our roving reporter Mr Sato came across an unusual series of lunch packs made by Kudopan.

▼ Mr Sato found the sandwiches at the local Cub Centre supermarket chain in Hachinohe.

According to staff, these lunch packs are only sold in Aomori Prefecture, where they’re manufactured, as they have a short shelf life of around three days. Given its limited distribution area, the lunch packs are produced in small quantities, making them a regional specialty that tourists from other prefectures enjoy seeking out while visiting the region.

Visitors from abroad might also be interested in checking them out, particularly those from England, because the lunch packs are sold under the name “English Toast“.

At this one store Mr Sato visited, there was a wide variety of English Toast lunch packs available, containing fillings like Tuna Potato Salad (pictured above) and Double Coffee Cream (pictured below), a tie-up with Suntory’s Boss Coffee.

▼ This year, to mark the 55th anniversary of sales, there’s even a “Special English Toast” edition.

Other varieties included “Memories of Nuts” (left), which contains Crunchy Peanut Cream and Peanut Bits, and Crunchy Chocolate Cream & Whip (right).

There was even an “Ogura & Margarine” variety (marked with the arrow below), in honour of Ogura toast, Nagoya’s famous local specialty.

Curious to find out exactly how many types of English toast were available, Mr Sato hopped online to take a look at the official site, where he found a total of 11 varieties. Looking at the image below, from left to right and top to bottom, we have: Double Coffee Cream, Memories of Nuts, Pistachio Cream & Whip, Crunchy Chocolate Cream & Whip, English Toast, Special English Toast, Blend Coffee, Ogura & Margarine, Original English Toast, Blend Coffee Cream, and Egg Salad. 

▼ Upon closer inspection, Mr Sato found there was no Tuna Potato Salad listed here so maybe there are 12 types?

▼ In addition to the above staples, the company also produces a special limited-edition flavour each month.

That’s a whole lotta lunch packs right there, and Mr Sato couldn’t help but feel envious of the local residents who got to enjoy all these unusual flavours on a regular basis. However, to find out if he was missing out on something good, he needed to try a couple, so he picked up the Original English Toast and the Memories of Nuts.

▼ Starting with the Original, he immediately noticed that English toast came with its crust still on, and this one was filled with margarine and granulated sugar.

Of course, the lunch packs can be eaten as is, but English toast is known for being particularly delicious once toasted, so he popped it under the grill until it was golden brown.

▼ The surface was light and crunchy, and there was just enough margarine to flavour the bread perfectly, creating an incredibly delicious sandwich.

▼ Next up was the Memories of Nuts, which Mr Sato also toasted for optimal enjoyment.

This one really hit the spot with its crunchy texture and nutty goodness, and the peanut cream had melted deliciously inside. If Mr Sato lived in Aomori, he’d be eating this every morning for breakfast!

While the fillings were tasty, what really stood out for Mr Sato was the soft-on-the-inside-crunchy-on-the-outside nature of English Toast, which has no doubt led to its lasting popularity over the years. Eager to find out if there was any way he could purchase these back home in Tokyo, Mr Sato was pleased to find that the Aomori Hokusaikan antenna shop in Chiyoda Ward stocks them, and Cub Centre sells them online, although at a price of 139 yen (US$1) plus postage, which to Tokyo is 650 yen.

So if you’re in Tokyo and keen to try English Toast lunch packs, you now know where to get them. Although it’s always better to try them fresh on a trip to Aomori if you can, where there are plenty of other things to see and do!

Images © SoraNews24
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