They had us at “peppered,” but everything else is even better.

Our star reporter Mr. Sato is famous for his love of all kinds of food, but recently he’s really been into Taiwanese cuisine and likes to try some whenever the opportunity comes up. One particular Taiwanese food vendor he had long been seeking to try was Taiwan Roryu Koshomochi in the Kichijoji area of Tokyo.

It’s been open since November of last year and he had always seen the sign for the place while passing through Kichijoji Station on the train but never knew where it was exactly. Then, one day he was walking around the south exit of the station and found himself in front of Taiwan Roryu Koshomochi by chance and just instinctively lined up, as if he was destined to do so.

This store specializes in Peppered Pork Buns (Butaniku Kosho Mochi in Japanese or Hujiao Bing in Chinese), which is pork seasoned in black pepper and encased in a soft, warm bun. And one of the benefits of lining up here is that you can watch them make the Peppered Pork Buns through the window!

The approximate times when each batch of Peppered Pork Buns goes on sale are even listed on the window. They can be bought any time of day, but you should visit around these times if you want to catch the show or get the freshest ones possible.

Just watching those soft, doughy globs stick to the sides of the pot made Mr. Sato want to eat them more.

When he got to the front of the line he decided to buy five of them for 430 yen (US$3) each.

Our reporter really appreciated how the bag gave detailed instructions on the best way to reheat Peppered Pork Buns. First, you should wrap them in plastic and microwave them for 45 seconds at 500 Watts. Then you need to remove the plastic, wrap them in foil, and heat them on a frying pan or in a toaster oven for another two to three minutes.

Luckily, Mr. Sato’s were still warm so he could keep them in their delightful paper wrapping.

But they looked even better out of their wrapper. A nicely browned bun generously topped with sesame seeds. Their different shapes had a very handmade vibe and he could get a complex whiff of five-spice powder from inside them.

He cut one open to get a look inside and found that it was nicely packed with meat. The dumplings also appeared to have a double layer of dough. The browned outer layer was protected from getting soggy by an inner layer which soaked up the juices of the meat.

Upon taking a bite, Mr. Sato was first hit with the gentle aroma of star anise, followed by the sweet taste of the pork spreading through his mouth. And just before things get too sweet, black pepper kicks in to even things out. The texture varies as well, with the slightly crispy outside of the bun melting in his mouth.

The sheer number of tastes and textures packed into this little dumpling was nothing short of impressive. And every moment of it was completely delicious.

Mr. Sato shared the rest of his Peppered Pork Buns with everyone else in the office and they agreed that it was excellent. Once again, Taiwanese cuisine has won the day and our reporter highly recommends Taiwan Roryu Koshomochi to everyone who has a chance to stop by Kichijoji or their other branch in Machida, Tokyo.

Store information
Taiwan Roryu Koshomochi Kichijoji Store / 台湾老劉胡椒餅 吉祥寺店
Address: Tokyo-to, Musashino-shi, Kichijoji, Minamicho 1-11-1
Open noon – 7 p.m.

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