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 pumpkin cream sandwich.
The steady, orange-tinted approach of Halloween means you can now find pumpkin in pretty much everything. Pumpkin Kit Kats are back on shelves - I tried those on a previous visit. The best thing about them was that they didn't taste like pumpkin.
I'm finding these seasonal experiments a little hit-and-miss. Again, the last time I was in Japan during Halloween season, Cold Stone Creamery had pumpkin ice cream. Too mich chocolate, sprinkles and purple potato ice cream to really do a review justice.
And then I was going to do a pumpkin pudding review this week. Given my experience, the review may just have been 'real pudding wins every time'.
Anywho, on to the main event. The pumpkin cream sandwich.
(Can you tell it's the Halloween edition?)
It sure isn't the kind of sandwich you'd make back home. There are no crusts on it, for a start. Mum always used to tell me I should eat my crusts, because they'd give me curly hair. I didn't want curly hair. The crusts stayed resolutely on the plate. I like the crustless nature of this sandwich.
And there are more flavours on the shelves than seasonal pumpkin. Yamazaki Bread makes a whole bunch of sandwiches. Like jam, and pork katsu, and ham and mayo, and peanut butter, and trusty plain margarine. (I'm not kidding on that last one.)
Adding injury to insult, this isn't even technically pumpkin. It's made with kabocha from Hokkaido, which is known as 'Japanese pumpkin' but more of a squash.
The bread has a sort of marbled orange texture-y effect. Fair enough, I've never seen tie-dyed bread before, that's kinda interesting. Not appetising, just interesting...
Those not-really-crusts have that vice-pressed neat line to them. The resulting squish of bread is pretty crispy. Like the line of plastic around the edge of vacuum-moulded packaging. I almost wonder if I should've peeled it off before eating.
It feels a little solid when you bite into the sandwich, as if the pumpkin cream is partially frozen. Doesn't taste like the pumpkin ice cream I had before, though. Possibly the bread gets in the way there just like the sprinkly waffle basket did.
After the first of the two sandwiches in the pack, the taste was starting to go... wrong. 'Suspiciously bad aftertaste' wrong. I checked the packet to confirm they were actually still in date. Yep. Over 24 hours to go, in fact.
I don't think I even want to give this a score. It's just a no. And I really hope I don't forget this time next year and unwittingly eat it again.