This may be the only time in known human history when a six-pack was achieved using carbs.

Whenever the 29th of the month falls on a Friday, it’s informally dubbed as “a day to think about muscles” in Japan. The abbreviation for “Friday” is kin, while “2” and “9” can be read as ni and ku in Japanese. Put them all together and you get kin-ni-ku, which sounds just like kinniku, the word for “muscle.”

This past Friday, March 29 was one such muscle day. Now, our zany Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato knows a thing or two about muscles himself as he’s fairly recently reached the best shape of his life. So when he heard that there would be a special pop-up shop offering “muscle bread” in Tokyo’s Ebisu district, the temptation to witness this collaboration with his other favorite thing in life, carbs, was too irresistible to pass up.

▼ Case in point: A few years ago, Mr. Sato stuffed himself at an all-you-eat bakery event and temporarily ascended to carb heaven.

The shop was dubbed Skimmed Milk de Pump-Up Muscle Bakery and it would be open from noon to 6 p.m. (or until supplies lasted) inside of Vantan Career College’s Tokyo Ebisu Building No. 2. Perhaps the best thing of all was that the bread itself was completely free as part of a campaign between Japan’s National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations (Zen-Noh) and web information company Kayac, all in order to promote awareness of the benefits of low-fat, high-protein skim milk.

Mr. Sato being Mr. Sato, he actually showed up to the event a full hour earlier than its opening time in anticipation of crowds. However, the incredibly stormy weather seemed to have deterred people away from lining up outside, so he took refuge in a nearby cafe to wait.

When he returned about 15 minutes before it opened, he noticed that there was a new sign on the door welcoming customers inside–including the first of multiple word plays that he was about to witness.

Irasshaimaccho: A pun between irasshaimase (“welcome”) and maccho (“macho”), which pretty much always also carries the connotation of “muscular” in Japan.

When Mr. Sato finally walked inside, he was greeted by a smiling, apron-wearing macho dude who was absolutely ripped. He explained that Mr. Sato was free to select one kind of bread out of six sample types made using skim milk as well as one drink out of three options. 

Distracting as the macho dude’s muscles were, another delectable temptation was waiting behind him. Mr. Sato turned his attention to the incredible spread of carbs on the table. So this was wheat they meant by muscle bread in the advertisements–it was different kinds of bread baked to resemble muscles!

Here were the six bread options that were up for grabs.

1. Most Muscloissaint: A croissant shaped like the muscular arms of a flexing bodybuilder.

2. Six Bread: A loaf faithfully recreating pecs and a six-pack of abs in bread form. It seemed a little big for most people to finish alone, but Mr. Sato is no ordinary bread eater.

3. Bargle: A bagel imprinted with a “10 kg” mark to resemble barbells.

4. Squat Baguette: A loaf of French bread baked to resemble bursting quad muscles. Mr. Sato noted that they were the thickest and squattest (ha!) baguettes he had ever seen.

5. Shoulder melon bread: A deltoid muscle-inspired, hojicha-flavored melon bread with a bready “arm” add-on. It was a clever play on a real Japanese expression that describes someone with incredibly muscular arms as having “shoulder melons,” or shoulders that are so bulky it looks like there’s melons in there.

6. Chest Press Sandwich: A pec-shaped sandwich filled–amusingly–with chicken breast and veggies. Each one packed a total of about 30 grams (1.1 ounces) of protein.

This was going to be one of the toughest choices that Mr. Sato had ever had to make as all of the breads were incredibly droolworthy. However, the shoulder melon bread was simply too clever to pass up, so he went for that one.

As for the drinks, the three choices were a Corn Souplex, Power Latte, or Maccho Latte.

▼ The Maccho Latte is a pun on “Matcha Latte” and features the kanji for “muscle” in matcha powder on top of it.

Mr. Sato chose the iced Power Latte, called the Chikalatte in Japanese for its play on the word for “power” (chikara). He watched as one of the macho dudes prepared and shook it with his muscles bulging. Taking a sip, it was almost as if he could taste the power that went into making it.

He decided to eat the bread at home because seating inside the shop was limited. Before diving in, he took a moment to admire its unusual shape.

The whole thing was pretty darn big. The melon bread portion was a typical size for that, but the added “arm” added some heft.

Upon taking a bite, Mr. Sato was relieved that the bread wasn’t just gimmicky for its looks but also tasted really good. The outer crust of the melon bread was pleasantly crunchy, flavored with hojicha, and the inside was springy. Meanwhile, the “arm” was very fluffy. This combination of unique textures blended together magnificently inside of his mouth as he chewed on.

Since the Skimmed Milk de Pump-Up Muscle Bakery was a one-day special promotional event, Mr. Sato’s not sure if or when it will make an appearance again. It looks like the next time the 29th of a month falls on a Friday is in November of this year, so he’ll keep his ears out for any news as the time gets closer. It would be wonderful if a permanent shop opened sometime, too. In the meantime, he’ll try to keep getting his protein by eating things like Mos Burger’s Muscle Burger.

Source: PR Times
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