Making food cute is not always a good thing…

Aichi Prefecture, centrally located between Tokyo and Osaka, is famous for its locally raised breed of chicken known as Kochin, which produce not only good meat but also tasty eggs. As such, baby chicks have become something of a mascot for the prefecture, especially for its largest city, Nagoya, where you can find a cafe called Piyorin Station Café Gentiane that sells chick-shaped puddings called “Piyorin” and other chick-shaped and chick-themed food.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to taste much of the cafe’s cute fare unless you visit the city yourself, but there is at least one kind you can buy anywhere in the country: chick-shaped sugar cubes! They’re available to order online. We recently discovered this and quickly ordered some…but we weren’t prepared for the consequences of actually using them.

The Piyorin Sugar Set is sold on the Piyorin Market section of the JR Tokai Market online store for 1,200 yen (US$9.13). It comes as a set of six adorable, round, chick-shaped sugar morsels, with two yellow, two pink, and two brown.

Each one has a little divot in its belly so that you can attach it to the rim of your mug. Just affixing it makes your tea or coffee break ten times cuter! The divot is the perfect size for an average-sized mug, so it won’t fall off on a slight jostle either. You can comfortably take time to gaze upon your Piyorin Sugar’s cute little face.

Which is what we did. Once we were sufficiently cuted out, we prepared to drop it in our drink, which was a cup of hot milk.

For a moment, we thought its cute little round eyes were pleading with us, but we had to resist. “Sorry little guy…” we whispered. “You’ve got a job to do!”


Piyorin dropped into the milky depths. After we stirred our milk, however, a horrifying sight appeared before us…

▼ “P…Piyoriiiiin!!!!”

What looked like its little orange wings still floated in the milk, gently bobbing and turning in a slow circle in the aftermath of our spoon-induced whirlpool, like the remains of a dumped corpse.

When the churning milk quieted, what soundlessly drifted to the surface was a single orange fragment of what had once been a sugar Piyorin, and we were forced to swallow down our feelings of guilt together with the milk.

It was delicious…The milk, that is. It had been granted a perfect, gentle sweetness through Piyorin’s sacrifice. In time, the heat of the milk served to dissolve all the remaining evidence of Piyorin, and the relaxation granted to us by the delicious, soothing beverage served to dull the sharp edge of our sin.

Later, when traces of hunger began to creep their way into our subconscious and time had dimmed our memories, we began to wonder…perhaps we can use Piyorin in cooking, too! So we decided to make a Japanese-style omelet, which is sweetened with sugar, using a pink sugar Piyorin.

“Sorry, Piyorin!”

“Your sweetness is just so exquisite…”

“You must fulfill your destiny!!”

That omelet was really delicious, too.

In the end, the Piyorin Sugar Set actually provides the perfect serving size of sugar that works great in both drinks and cooking. And since they’re just as cute as they are useful, they’re a great way to enjoy a bit of relaxation and wipe away some of the stress of the day. The only issue is that you might have lingering feelings of guilt after watching their cute little faces dissolve bit by bit, their beady eyes imploring you to reconsider your choices.

If you’re impervious to the suffering of sugar cubes, no matter how cute, or are otherwise prepared to do the deed, you’re welcome to try them. As mentioned, you can find them on the JR Tokai Market Online Store.

Or if you don’t want to be the agent of their demise yourself, you can visit Nagoya and stop by the Piyorin Station Café Gentiane, which is located inside Nagoya Station itself. There, in addition to the famous Piyorin chick-shaped pudding, you can order drinks made with sugar Piyorin, so you can taste their sweetness without feeling like you drowned an adorable chick.

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