Taste-testing the white crepes of the Tokyo area’s Shironohachi.

When judging foods versus each other in a taste test, it can be hard to pick a winner if you’re not eating them within a short time of one another. So when foodies in the town of Ora, Gunma Prefecture, wanted to know which food truck has the best-tasting food in all of Kanto (eastern Japan), they decided to organize a head to head competition.

They called it the 1st Kanto Kitchen Car Championship. Held last October, it was open to any “kitchen car” (as Japan calls food trucks) that operates in the Kanto area and thought it could claim the title. A total of 18 trucks showed up, with the winner decided by ballots cast by attendees who showed up to eat the trucks’ food.

When the ballots were counted, the winner was crepe truck Shironohachi.

As a mobile eatery, Shironohachi’s location varies depending on the date. On some it parks and sets up shop on the streets of Tokyo, but the most likely place to find it is in Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo’s neighbor to the east. As luck would have it, Chiba is also where our Japanese-language reporter Kouhey lives, and he was happy to volunteer to visit, and eat at, what the Kanto Kitchen Car Championship voters chose as east Japan’s number-one food truck.

On the day of Kouhey’s visit, Shironohachi was going to be operating in a parking lot about five minutes on foot from Kashiwa Tanaka Station on the Tsukuba Express Line, in Kashiwa City. According to their website, they weren’t opening until 1 p.m., and by the time the truck’s shutter raised, there was already a handful of people waiting.

▼ The truck proudly displays its award certificate from the Kanto Kitchen Car Championship.

You order by filling out an order sheet, with the first selection you need to make being the kind of crepe batter you want. The matcha crepe was tempting, but after asking the owner for his recommendation, Kouhey chose the 400-yen (US$3.10) “white crepe,” which is Shironohachi’s flagship item. Additional ingredients are 20 yen each, and, again following the chef’s suggestions, Kouhey added whipped cream, condensed milk, and strawberries.

▼ Kouhey’s order sheet:
白: white crepe
しろ: whipped cream
練乳: condensed milk
いちご: strawberries

Koyhey handed in his order sheet, and after a short wait, he had his crepe!

It was beautiful to look at, and Kouhey admired it the whole way during his short walk to a nearby park, where he sat himself down on a bench to taste test it.

The white crepe certainly lives up to its name. Next to the vibrant vermillion strawberry, the dough looked as white as freshly fallen snow.

Kouhey went in for a bite, and…

…it was amazingly delicious! Not only does the dough look different form an ordinary crepe’s its texture is different too. It’s delectably soft and chewy, with an extra bit of tender stretchiness. However, it’s not noticeably thicker than a normal crepe, so it retains a perfect ratio between dough and cream.

The strawberries were great too, and while at first glance it looked like there was just the one pretty piece of fruit at the top, there were additional strawberry pieces further down inside the crepe too.

Really, though, it’s the dough and the cream that are the stars of the show here. They’re so delicious that the crepe would still be irresistible even without any fruit filling, and Kouhey’s taste buds were bathed in bliss as he went from this…

…to this.

If Koyhey has any complaint, it’s that he would have liked the crepe to be a little bigger. Really, though, it’s hard to say if that’s because the crepe itself is actually on the compact size, or if it’s so delicious that no matter how big they made it, he’d have been left wanting a few more bites even after eating the whole thing.

After eating there, Kouhey is convinced that Shironohachi deserves its Kanto Kitchen Car Championship win, and if you’re looking to try it for yourself, the truck’s upcoming location schedule can be found on its website here.

Related: Shironohachi website
Photos © SoraNews24
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