Did You Know Fruit Sandwiches Are a Japanese Invention?!: Teach Me, TOM Senpai!

Imagine this: fluffy slices of bread filled to the brim with the sweet whipped cream and colorful fruits! These treats definitely aren't new, but they’ve suddenly exploded in popularity again. Do you know what they are? Fruit sandwiches!

Fruit sandwiches aren't the savory ones that you’re probably used to having for lunch. Instead of regular ingredients like ham, lettuce, or chicken, they’re filled with sweet things like fresh cream, strawberries, or even slices of kiwifruit. As a result, they're seen more as sweets and eaten as a snack.

And guess what? These adorable sandwiches are actually a Japanese invention! Though we don’t have all the details, they are said to have been invented sometime between the Taisho era (1912-1926) and the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989). Nowadays they’re readily available in convenience stores, bakeries, and retro Japanese-style coffee shops (喫茶店, kissaten). Traditional and familiar to many, they’re a cheap and easy way to experience an older Japan without going too far!

You may think, "Hold on, a fruit sandwich?" Not to worry, though; since sliced bread in Japan generally has a fine grain and is super soft and fluffy, it’s perfect to be eaten with sweet flavors!

A new term that caught Japan by storm a few years ago was "moe-dan" (萌え断), meaning “beautiful and colorful cross-sections of food”. Just giving the Japanese hashtag #萌え断 a search on Instagram will bring up over 200,000 results of beautiful food. Perhaps fruit sandwiches can thank social media for their comeback, seeing as they're the epitome of moe-dan.

Recently, sandwiches are even being made to make the fruits and cream look like flowers in the cross-sections. With more and more people putting together artistic sandwiches, just scrolling through the pictures can be really fun!

Try making your own with our basic fruit sandwich recipe!

Here's an important tip: Choose fruits that don’t contain too much moisture, because those with too much juice will make your sandwich all soggy. However, most kinds of fruit are OK, so go ahead and choose your favorites. We recommend fruits like strawberries, kiwis, bananas, papaya, and pineapple.

This time we’ll be making a fruit sandwich staple: a strawberry sandwich!

Ingredients (Serves 2)
・4 slices of sandwich bread
・Strawberries (as many as you think necessary)
・1 pack of fresh cream (200ml)
・20g sugar (adjust if needed)


1. Prep the strawberries
Cut the top off washed strawberries.

2. Make the whipped cream
Add fresh cream and sugar into a bowl. Whisk it until it forms stiff peaks.
(Tip: Place the bowl over ice or cold water to chill it while whisking. This will speed up the process and give the cream more volume.)

3. Spread the cream on the bread
Spread out some cling wrap. Make sure that it is enough to comfortably wrap your entire finished sandwich. Place one slice of bread on the cling wrap. Slather a thick layer of cream on it, filling in the corners and the sides.

4. Arrange the strawberries
While arranging the strawberries, keep in mind how the cross-section of the sandwich will look. On top of them, spread another layer of fresh cream (make sure to cover all of the strawberries!). Place the other slice of bread on top. Do the same for the other 2 slices of bread.

5. Wrap your sandwiches in cling wrap and pop them in the fridge
Using the cling wrap under the sandwiches, make sure to wrap each sandwich properly. Then, put them into the fridge so they'll hold their shape.

Once they're properly chilled, you can cut them open and snap away to your heart’s content!

Not quite cakes and not quite meals either, fruit sandwiches are definitely in a league of their own. You can buy them just about anywhere in Japan, so be sure to visit someday to sample these treats at their birthplace!

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article with text and illustrations by HER.

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