Moomin Bakery @ LaQua

A word, “Moomin”, evokes fond memories of the childhood amongst most of the Japanese. Despite being Finnish **** characters, the inhabitants of Moomin Valley is extremely popular in this far-east country. My first encounter with them was through a series of TV cartoons aired as a part of “Calpis Theatre” (カルピス劇場) – the programmes sponsored by a popular soft drink company. I was instantly besotted with a protagonist, Moomin, who resembled a hippo and his peculiar looking relatives and friends. I looked forward to watching the cartoon every Saturday (or was it on Sunday?), and drew him on my notepad tirelessly for the rest of week. When the series came to the end eventually, I was understandably crestfallen, felt the same sort of emptiness when SATC was finally over.
This is the Moomin I grew up with…

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Apparently, Tove Jansson, a creator of Moomin, disapproved of the appearance of the Japanese Moomin. She thought it was too round and fat. However, the Japanese animators / character designers were very concerned of the aesthetics of the original Moomin because his feature was more angular and wouldn’t be found cute “Kawaii” and cuddly by the Japanese audience…

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Hmmm…, how would I feel if I were in Tove’s shoes?
Probably, I would have felt the same frustration if my creation was not honestly depicted. Japanese anime Moomin & Tove’s original Moomin, they do look rather different, don’t they?
Despite the discrepancy, it was also undeniable that the Japanese Moomin cartoon endeared these fascinating characters from Finland to millions of the Japanese children and parents alike and found a permanent place in their hearts. I hope Miss.Jansson knew about it.

After stuffing ourselves with pancake at Bubby’s, mum and I took subway from Shinbashi and traveled to Kōrakuen, our next destination. The station was the closest to LaQua Tokyo Dome City, in which existed the Moomin Bakery & Cafe…

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Since the premises opened its door in 2003, the bakery had been introducing Finnish style baked treats to the Japanese bread lovers. Especially, rye bread is one of Finnish specialities. However, comparing it with its German counterpart, Finnish rye bread is sweetened with honey. And this sweet flavour really appeals to the Japanese tastebuds…

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We weren’t even remotely hungry after Bubby’s so decided to buy a few pastries for snack later on…

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Their shelves were laden with tempting looking breads…

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Many of them were not only cute to behold but also a tasty fusion of the Japanese & Finnish culinary cultures…

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Some pastries were literally out of the cartoon books..

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Amongst breads, there were also biscuits…

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and chocolate. Perfect as gifts…

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Small kitchen utensils were also on sale…

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A “Stuff It Yourself” goodie bag in various sizes…

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Fellow visitors were shopping for Moomin treats and souvenirs…

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We were a bit disappointed that they weren’t fully stocked with the Moomin merchandise.
Still, they sold some tableware…

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and party paraphernalia and phone straps…

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Cuddly toys for kids..

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and Moomin tote bags for grown-ups…

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Next to the bakery was a cafe with a special menu for Moomin fans…

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In spite of being an ordinary weekday afternoon, their tables were fully occupied…

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A kind diner allowed me a picture of her latte…

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and a plate of Moomin pancake…

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We bought some treats for ourselves…

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The pastries were filled with custard, one was flavoured with raspberry and the other with chocolate. They were really tasty.
I learnt recently that a Moomin themed amusement park are planned to open in Japan in 2015. Mum and I are really looking forward to visiting there together!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

20 thoughts on “Moomin Bakery @ LaQua

    • I know! The cafe was really cute. If we weren’t too full, we would have waited for a table. And their breads & pastries!! They were mega adorable! I felt guilty when I bit a chunk out of Moomin’s head…

    • Oh really!! Wow! I loved the bakery & cafe very much. The Japanese do really well when it came to promoting Moomin. The pastries I bought was yummy. I wish if I could buy them in London. In here, we don’t have that kind of fluffy soft bread at all…:(
      About Moomin Park, I am so excited too! The announcement came through the Finnish Embassy, therefore, it must be truly happening. The location hasn’t been confirmed and I shall let you know as soon as I find out (^_<)

    • No worry (^-^) I was a bit cheeky to ask but there were no table available and my impatient mum was not in the mood for queuing. So I asked. It seemed the presence of Moomin put every one in a good mood and my request was granted 🙂

      • Cheeky indeed! Haha! Ooh, did you know there are actually a few good Japanese bakeries in London? Here are just a few: Tetote Factory in South Ealing, and Lanka in Primose Hill, all probably better than the baked goods you’ll find at Japan Centre! The world needs more Moomins. Where there is Moomin, there is joy. 🙂

      • Wow, thanks!! I’ve heard about Lanka but didn’t know they also did bread. I must check it up this weekend. Yipee! And about Tetote Factory, I’ve never set my foot into South Earling but since there is a good Japanese bakery, I must go 🙂 Thank you for the fantastic information! X

      • Yeah, I shall check before I set off. My favourite ramen in London? It has to be Tonkotsu on Dean Street. I am not that big fan of tonkotsu style ramen so one of their ramen with fish base soup suits me the best. How about yours?

      • I do like Tonkotsu and also Bone Daddies! Getting very hungry talking about food. Currently trying to finish a post on our time in Hakone. 🙂 Wish we never had to leave!

      • Bone Daddies is also very popular, aren’t they? There is always a looooooong queue.
        Are you writing about Hakone? Ohhh, I am so looking forward to reading it 🙂

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