Join us as we hunt the monsters of the Japanese bakery scene.

Our veteran reporter Mr. Sato has covered the Japanese snack food beat for well over a decade now. And having scoured the land sampling of its many tarts, sweet-bean buns, and brûlée , until recently he would have readily told you that Japan’s largest sweet bun known as melon bread, or “melon pan” in Japanese, was the Deka Melon from Kosuge Pan.

Weighing in at 408 grams (0.9 pounds) and loaded with 1,360 calories it seemed unsurpassable aside from the occasional Guinness World Record attempt.

▼ Deka Melon (left) and Mr. Sato (right), the bun cost 250 yen (US$1.90) when he bought it in June 2022

However, the other day, Mr. Sato sensed a great disturbance in the force. It was as if a million waistlines cried out at once and the source was none other that the supermarket chain Lopia. Mr. Sato was familiar with this store from his days as the Senbero God and recalled it being known as the “Costco of Japan” for its predilection towards bulk selling.

Walking inside our reporter tracked down a sign which read “Monster Melon Pan” and boasted a price of 486 yen ($3.70), nearly twice as much as the Deka Melon.

And under the sign, lined up atop some cardboard boxes in plastic bags were a half dozen of the biggest melon pan Mr. Sato had ever seen.

Or were they? Human perception is quite fallible and easily manipulated by tricks of lighting and perspective. The only way to be sure was for Mr. Sato to take one back to the office for further analysis and snacking.

Ever the budget-conscious shopper, our reporter got one nearing its best-before date and only had to pay 378 yen ($2.88). He barely managed to squeeze it into his knapsack and went on his way.

Back at the office, he first decided to recreate the photo of the Deka Melon using the Monster Melon Pan so that he could compare the two using his own melon as the baseline.

The Monster Melon Pan certainly seemed bigger, but it still wasn’t concrete proof. For all we know, Mr. Sato’s head may have shrunk considerably in the past nine months. Unfortunately, he didn’t take measurements of the Deka Melon, but learning from this mistake, he decided to record the diameter of the Monster Melon for future reference.

Monster Melon Pan Diameter: approximately 20 centimeters (7.8 inches)

On the other hand, he had recorded the weight of the Deka Melon at 408 grams, so he could accurately compare the two in this regard.

Monster Melon Pan Weight: approximately 398 grams (0.88 pounds)

This was an interesting development. Despite Monster Melon Pan seeming to surpass Deka Melon in size, the latter appears to have edged out the former in terms of weight. Granted, it was a slight difference, but even at equal weight it would suggest that Deka Melon is just the same amount of bread but more densely packed.

Mr. Sato took the Monster Melon Pan out of the bag and even though it was big enough to nearly eclipse the plate it was on, he still had to call this a draw.

As for its quality, our reporter took a cross section to gauge the melon-panniness of this melon pan. This type of bun is characterized by its layer of cookie-like matter on the top, but in the case of Monster Melon Pan that layer was extremely thin. So much so that, Mr. Sato began to question if this was really melon pan, but the bread was quite fluffy and nice so it was pretty tasty either way.

In the end, Deka Melon and Monster Melon Pan are just too close to call and more in-depth analysis would be needed to crown a clear winner. Then again, maybe there is another challenger out there somewhere being sold commercially that is even bigger. If so, Mr. Sato will find it…

Melon pan information
Monster Melon Pan / モンスターメロンパン
Found at: Lopia at LaLaport Tokyo Bay / ロピア ららぽーとTOKYO-BAY店
Address: Chiba-ken, Funabashi-shi, Hamacho 2-1-1, Mitsui Shopping Park, LaLaport Tokyo Bay West Bldg. 1F
千葉県船橋市浜町2-1-1三井ショッピングパーク ららぽーとTOKYO-BAY西館1階
Open: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (weekdays), 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (weekends, holidays)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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