Most of my eating was thoroughly researched and planned out. I am loathe to eat random things willy nilly. I just feel, more likely than not, you’re probably gonna end up eating something average and a waste of stomach real estate. There are certain situations where I find myself intrigued enough to break habit and take a risk. While walking through Harajuku, the enticing smells of freshly baked sweets wafted past me. I followed the scent to a line of people, not too long, maybe 20 people deep. I didn’t know what the heck the fuss was about so I parked The Annoyer in the line while I did a little reconnaisance. It seems like Zaku Zaku specialized in some custard filled churro looking thing and soft serve hailing from Hokkaido. I figured all these people in the decently moving line must know something I don’t.
Ok, so maybe they’re a little fatter than churros, and far from the texture of a churro. It’s basically a long cream puff with a crunchy coating of almonds and sugar to make a sort of cookie encrusting.
They are filled with cream right before being sold to customers so that the puff stays fresh and doesn’t get soggy. It’s a familiar set up like Beard Papa’s, which interestingly also hails from Japan, though does not necessarily use dairy from Hokkaido. It seems like “Hokkaido” has a reputation for high quality ingredients.
If you ask me, I think the darn thing looks kinda ugly.
How it looked was the last thing on my mind after I had a few bites. The puff part is light but still substantial enough to be satisfying. The cookie crunch adds texture and makes it more fun to eat than a regular cream puff. The custard creamy filling is surely the best part. It’s not lumpy or goopy like some custards can be. It’s not too sweet, because that would be very un-Japanese. It’s just smooth and utterly delightful. Often times, The Annoyer and I fight over who gets to let the other person have the last bite. This was a rare time when I did not fight him when he offered me the last bite. I gladly accepted. No regrets. I would have liked to eat another one if I wasn’t so full from lunch.
I am so glad I randomly stumbled across Zaku Zaku. Conceptually, it seems just like an elongated version of a cookie crunch cream puff from Beard Papa’s. I never had the cookie crunch cream puff so I can’t tell you if this is better. However, I definitely liked the creamy filling better than Beard Papa’s. It’s just a little lighter and a little less sweet. It is definitely a place I must revisit. The convenient location in the basement of Lumine Est department store connected to the Shinjuku station makes it an easy pit stop. I would probably try to avoid the Harajuku location since Takeshita Dori is such a cluster and I have no interest in the funky teenage culture of Japan. If you’re not much for sweets, you probably won’t think this is anything special.
10 – You NEED to eat here (if you love sweets)
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here