Honey Toast Box - Gastro Obscura
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Honey Toast Box

Many spoons are needed to demolish one of these ice cream-stuffed bread loaves.

Some people balk at sharing dessert. But eating a massive honey toast box is a mission best tackled with a friend. Or two.

Throughout Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore, cafe employees create honey toast boxes by cutting off the top of loaves of sweet, pillowy Japanese milk bread. (Honey toast boxes are also called Shibuya toast, after the trendy Tokyo enclave where they’re said to have originated.) After removing the bread’s innards, they cut, cube, and fry or oven-toast it with butter, then load the crispy cubes into the boxy, bread shell, which they butter and toast, too. A drizzle of honey or condensed milk softens the toast’s crunchy edges, and sliced fruit and ice cream fill the bread-receptacle. 

What happens next differs from location to location. Some cafes’ concoctions feature artfully angled cookies and marshmallows, and flavor profiles range from tropical fruits to traditional Japanese red bean and green tea. One Japanese cafe serves honey toast towers more than a foot and a half tall. At Pasela, an upscale chain of karaoke bars, three toast boxes combine to create a cream puff and fruit-covered Honey Toast Train. Other toast artists slice up the box, stack the slices like Jenga blocks, and fill the Jenga tower with ice cream and fruit. 

Even with a posse, a whole honey toast box can be a gutbuster. If you’re eating solo, keep an eye out for single-slice brick toast, which comes in flavors like peanut butter and condensed milk.

Need to Know

Honey toast boxes are common at cafes—and the occasional restaurant—in Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan. Bring a friend or five.

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Anne Ewbank Anne Ewbank
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