Chouraku 長楽

Sold at: Chouraku restaurant in Kin Town 

Price: 1600 yen/whole or 250 yen/slice

Chouraku is a wonderful little cafe-style restaurant in Kin Town, the town most famous for growing taro in Okinawa.  Hiroto and I found it while we were cruising through Kin one day looking for all things taro – they had a big sign outside advertising taro manju.  When we went inside, we were (well, I was) even more pleased to find that not only did they also sell big taro pies, but they even prepared set meals consisting entirely of taro dishes!  We sat down and I ordered the taro teishoku, a bargain at 1500 yen as it included several types of fried taro dumplings, regular poi, and sweet poi, all of which were heavenly.  And then there was the pie… 

This was the most expensive taro pie yet, at 1600 yen for a whole or 250 for a slice (American*American’s was bigger but 400 yen less), but it was well worth the price.  The filling was made of the thickest, chewiest taro I’ve had in all my samplings.  It also wasn’t very sweet at all, which I appreciated (the pure taro taste shines through without being overshadowed by sweeteners), but Hiroto said he would have preferred it sweeter.  So I guess this one should be left to only true taro lovers – I certainly give this pie my vote for the best filling of all the taro pies I’ve tried so far.  

To make up for the not-so-sweet filling, the flaky crust was sugar-glazed.  This made it sticky and hard to cut with a fork or bite into, but Hiroto as well as my family visiting from the States gave it very good reviews.  

Chouraku taro pie (whole)Chouraku taro pie (almost whole)Chouraku taro pie (slice)

Besides the wide variety of taro dishes, the really great thing about Chouraku is that of all the places where you can go to buy taro pies, they have the most comfortable environment in which to eat a taro pie.  American*American has a dine-in option, but at Chouraku they have cute, comfy couches, and the staff is friendly and very knowledgeable about taro.  It’s a family-run restaurant, so they always make sure you get the best service possible.  The last time we went, they made a taro pie specially for me and my family even though they had sold out.  As a convenient bonus, if you don’t speak Japanese, the chef, Yoshiki, speaks perfect British English!

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