Pillowy soft and delicately sweet, the chilled cream buns from Japanese brand Hattendo have been a top "omiyage" (pasalubong) and quick sweet fix in Japan -- customers line up to get a bun to sink their teeth on before heading out to work, and order the bread buns in boxes to bring home and give as presents. Hattendo has been around since 1933, and just like many well established Japanese food brands, has now found its way to the Philippines to introduce authentic and new flavors to our local palates. And with our obsession for sweet, sweet desserts -- this new cool indulgence bodes well and good for our sweet tooth.
Biting into a flavor-filled chilled bun is just like sinking your teeth into a bun in Japan, as these fluffy and sweet Japanese bread buns are all directly imported from Japan. These yellow golden rolls of bread, soft to touch, may at first sight remind you of our local pastel bread, also bearing a sweet filling.
But that's when the rudimentary similarities end---Hattendo's products possess much softer handmade bread with delicately flavored cream filling, and is served chilled. Each Hattendo bun is baked in the Hiroshima factory, then hand-wrapped on its packaging to seal. It has absolutely no preservatives and uses quality ingredients, and is shipped to the country in refrigerated containers set at a precise temperature range. And as these soft and preservative-free buns are temperamental, the daily deliveries to the kiosks in Manila involve a lot of temperature and humidity control.
Currently, Hattendo Philippines carries seven cream flavors: Custard, Matcha, Azuki Bean, Chestnut, Chocolate, Whipped Cream, and Mango. The chilled, cream-filled buns are sold P118/piece (a bun has a net weight of 84 grams), P420/Pack of 4, and P600/Box of 6. In Japan, there are over 30 flavors available, and they frequently roll out seasonal, limited edition flavors which Hattendo Philippines hopes to bring to Manila soon.
Both Japan stores and Manila stores have the same best-sellers--the Custard and the Whipped Cream--two classic buns that serve as proper and delicious introductions to the chilled bun line. They're heavenly soft that you can finish one piece within a few seconds -- take smaller and slower bites, though, to really savor the distinct creamy filling. Both Azuki Red bean and Matcha are also must-tries, with just a hint of sweetness; for those looking for sweeter flavors, get the Chestnut.
Bringing home the buns
Hattendo chilled buns are best eaten chilled -- it's in the name, so they need to be refrigerated (but never refreeze!) if you want to bring them home. It's at its best flavors and textures if you eat it within 24 hours of purchase, and should you be carrying the buns for longer before popping it in the fridge, Hattendo can provide a free ice pack that can keep cool for 2 hours. They also sell a Cooler Bag (P70), and for P650, you get a Box of 6 with a Cooler Bag included.
Hattendo's Rainy Day Treat promo slashes prices on their buns until August 31, 2015: P100 per piece (instead of P118) and P570 for a box of 6.
Hattendo kiosks are located at Mega Fashion Hall and Mall of Asia. Hattendo is exclusively imported and distributed in the country by C3 Premium Partnerships, Inc. Like Hattendo Philippines in Facebook ("Hattendo Philippines"), follow on Instagram (@hattendophilippines) and Twitter (@hattendo_ph).