We’ll take anything to bring us closer to Japan…

There’s just something about Japanese pastries and desserts that we can’t get enough of, and it’s not difficult to see why. The distinct character of the Japanese baking technique makes for gratifyingly fluffy bread and exquisitely artistic pastries.

Although Riyadh may be home to plenty of delicious standout pastries and baked goods, there’s nothing quite like these Japanese-style bakeries and confectioneries that will wow you with their creations that are often as aesthetically pleasing as they are satisfying to our palates.

So, if you’re in the mood for matcha cake, soft cream bun, jiggly souffle pancakes and the likes, here are four places in Riyadh where you can go.

amai Japanese Bakery

 

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Having been established about a year ago, amai Japanese Bakery is an artisanal bakery that has gone the distance. There seems to be endless variety at amai, from Hokkaido cheese tarts and shu kurimu (crunchy choux with cream filling) to the shokupan (sandwiches made with freshly baked bread). Absolutely unmissable, however, are the matcha cheese tart, amai pan (sweet bread) with its adorable teddy bear and owl shapes, and the chicken katsu sando served with battered asparagus.

amai Japanese Bakery, 8068 Welfare Centre, Prince Muhammad Ibn Saad Ibn Abdulaziz Rd, Hittin, Riyadh 11564, Sat to Thurs 8am to midnight & Fri 1pm to midnight. Tel: 011 234 4005. @amai.sa

Pan-Ya

 

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A brand-spanking-new Japanese bakery slap bang in Al Mathar, Pan-Ya’s bakers are now busy baking up everything from soft and fluffy low-fermentation loaves to dorayaki (pancake-like patties wrapped around a filling of sweet azuki bean paste) to a Totoro-shaped cream bun. Alongside the tasty treats, the café itself is awash with colourful Anime murals, and there’s a definite Japanese edge to this bakery that’s got us curious to check it out. A must-try is their Japanese pancake and kare pan (curry wrapped in bread and covered in panko breadcrumbs).

Pan-Ya, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Rd, Seetah Center, Al Mathar Ash Shamali, Riyadh 12312, Coordinates: MMMC+2G, Soft opening hours: daily 4pm to midnight. Tel: 9200 01778. @panyaksa

Uncle Tetsu

 

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Located next to Virgin Megastore in Riyadh Park, Uncle Tetsu is a narrow storefront with no seating. The speciality of this popular confectionery chain is its light and airy Japanese cheesecake. Another creation worth trying is the cheese tart. This iconic dessert has a warm and creamy filling cupped by a perfectly crisp, buttery tart shell.

Uncle Tetsu, Riyadh Park, Al Aqiq, Riyadh 11564, Sat to Thurs 10am to 11.30pm & Fri 1.30pm to midnight. @uncle_tetsu_gcc

Sayaki

 

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Sayaki is more of a dessert shop than a bakery per se, and it is known for its taiyaki ice cream cones – soft-serve ice cream that comes in fish-shaped cones made using waffle batter. You can customise your taiyaki in all sorts of ways with an assortment of toppings, fillings and soft-serve flavours ranging from vanilla and chocolate to taro (yam) and peanut. Every component is well-executed: from the ice cream’s velvety texture to the cone’s warm, sweet breadiness of a freshly made waffle. Apart from taiyaki, its fluffy, made-to-order imagawayaki wheel cakes (thick, round bread with a crispy pancake-like exterior and delicious filling) are pretty good, too.

Sayaki, Al Aqiq Plaza, Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Mohammed Bin Saad, Riyadh 13511, Sun to Wed 4pm to midnight & Thurs to Sat 2pm to midnight. @sayaki.sa

Images: Instagram