Aji WOW: the Cinnamoroll cinnamon roll
Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: A Cinnamoroll-themed cinnamon roll from KFC.
Sanrio has created a lot of cute characters. You definitely know Hello Kitty, right? Cinnamoroll is another Sanrio creation. Out of HUNDREDS. If you recognise 5 or 6, you're doing well.
Cinnamoroll isn't a sweet treat with eyes. It's a dog. Yeah, a dog with massive ears. And that just so happens to have a cinnamon roll-shaped tail.
Anyway. It's Cinnamoroll's 15th anniversary this year... that's the official line, anyway. 15th anniversary promos for Cinnamoroll are happening this year. Never mind that the character was created in 2001. That's 16 years, people!
So we're celebrating, and with a real cinnamon roll instead of a cake. Nice and appropriate, until you remember you're eating something that resembles a cartoon dog's curly tail.
Weirdly, this is a special release from KFC. I haven't been able to work out why. There are no other Cinnamoroll or Sanrio promos running. Just a new cinnamon roll on the menu. It can be ordered by itself, or as part of a drink set.
The box has instructions for reheating the bun. (Pastries are always best eaten warm, with a nice cup of tea.) But I was given a toasty cinnamon roll to start with - and near enough ran to sit down, so I could eat straight away.
You can see it through the heart-shaped plastic window on the box, if it isn't steamed over. Cinnamoroll is wearing a KFC uniform. Only the hat and jaunty bow tie are visible, but that's a Japanese KFC uniform for sure.
Once you've opened the box, it can't be resealed. Which is a shame - I was ready to wipe down the inside and keep the packaging. But it barely even folds back into a box shape. I wanted to keep this little cartoon of Cinnamoroll doing some weirdly suggestive icing.
Okay. Box open, cinnamon roll on table. Now, what do you notice about this on a first look?
Why yes, this cinnamon roll is indeed much shorter and smaller than the promo images suggest. I expected to have to cut it up. No need for that.
And it seems a bit darker than the pictures, too. To be honest, the top of the bun was pretty burnt. That's probably something that varies by branch. Still a shame.
Once I got past the slightly overdone bits, the inside of the roll was pure heaven. The whole swirl was coated with a generous dose of sweet cinnamon. The white icing on the top covered 90% of the burnt flavour, and that could well be deliberate.
It didn't taste bad, and it didn't crumble to flaky pastry dust as soon as I picked it up. Plus the middle was soft, still warm right at the centre, and seriously delicious. That middle was the best bit by far, and worth waiting for.
Happy anniversary, Cinnamoroll. I hope for many more sweet treats named after all your friends. (Come on, Pompompurin pudding...)
Verdict: 9/10. Sweet on the outside, sweet on the inside.