I got rather thirsty making my way through the Asakusa ward in Tokyo, and with the amount of vending machines that run rampant in the city, staying hydrated would be the easy part. The hard part was trying to decide what to purchase from the machines.
One of the machines I encountered must have had over 20 different kinds of drink selections, my goodness, I just wanted some damn water. Browsing through the selections, the craving for water was clouded by indecision, all of a sudden, water was no longer a priority. Most of the choices revolved around different varieties of water, green tea, soda, coffee, soup, and as a foreigner, I was drawn to the creamed corn flavored drink and Morinaga’s pancake flavored drink.
Creamed corn, well, I’m not too crazy about it, but the pancake drink, as a self-proclaimed pancake slut, well, I just had to try. I mean, just look at that can! Three fluffy pancakes topped with butter and laced with syrupy goodness, how could I resist! After depositing 110 Yen into the machine and after a quick tumble of the can, I reached into the machine and noticed that the can was considerably warm right when I got a hold of it. Well, after all, who wants to eat or drink cold pancakes? I felt the urge not to drink it right then and there. I wanted to bring a couple cans home to share with friends so that we could all experience it together. After stuffing the cans into my book bag, I went back to the machine and purchased a bottle of green tea and went on my merry way.
Back home in Chicago, my friends and I had a pancake drink tasting party. I was telling them about it during our group dinner and many of them thought I was joking, that was until I showed them the cans later in the night.
I reheated the cans in a pot of hot water, and when they reached the right temperature, I poured the drink into small plastic cups. The color and consistency of the beverage reminded me of milk tea, it even smelled like it. As the cups of pancakes were being handed out, I could see the hesitation and apprehension on everyone’s faces.
After taking the initial swig, I thought to myself, “wow, this is damn good!” Everyone else was in agreement and was as suprised as I was. A sweet milkiness with the addition of butter and maple syrup flavors really does make it taste pancakes. The drink wasn’t overpowering or overly sweet. It’s one of those drinks where you just sit down and enjoy bit by bit, taking in the mix of flavors.
Still, it’s no substitution for real pancakes.