“Red Bean Paste” may not sound that great, but once you try “Ogura-An” toasts, a locally-venerated, snack-like delicacy, you’ll fall in love with it too!
Grab a thick slice of bread. Like “really” thick, about 5cm (2in). Toast the outer surfaces thoroughly. Top it thickly with the “Ogura-An” chunky red bean paste. Finish with a dab of butter. Though you may find variations, this the most basic form of the “Ogura Toast”, an adored protocol-like delicacy of the Nagoyan morning. Think it like being the “PB&J sandwiches” of Nagoya. It’s been almost a 100 years since a student dumped a buttered toast on his “zenzai”, a sweet red bean soup, at a Sakae coffee shop circa 1921. The legend was born, kick-starting an entire coffee shop culture specific to Nagoya.
Fast forward to the present, the people of Aichi, young and old alike, still have a special place in their hearts for the ogura-an. This makes the Ogura Toast, the Coffee Zenzai (coffee with ogura-an) and Shiruko Sand (biscuit sandwiches of ogura-an, only made here) just a few among the thousands of concoctions created by the innovative Aichi people.
And it seems that the rest of the country, catching wind of this tasty item, is trying to adopt it too: as of recently, even convenience stores and big bread-making companies were observed launching their own ogura-based products. With this specific ingredient, it’s clear that the diverse local food culture owes largely to its people’s nature: they can’t help but just keep trying to invent new ways to eat things.
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