There are plenty of soft serve places in Japan; even some convenience stores have them. Chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, mint, mango, matcha: options are bountiful! However, if you’re looking for soy alternatives or if you’re lactose-intolerant, you may not have been able to partake in this creamy treat… Not until now that is!
Mr Bean is a soy food and beverage chain store, that hails from the sunny island of Singapore and is conveniently located in the heart of Shibuya station. Have you seen the smiling tubby Bean-kun at the station before? The Mr Bean stand sells soymilk, soy smoothies, and most importantly soy soft serve, which is to-die-for. The soymilk may be ordered hot or cold, and the smoothies come in flavors like mango, banana, peach, lychee, and acai. I am not lactose intolerant, but I really like the taste of soy. The flavor is delicate and carries the subtle aroma of soy, and it is also very nourishing. Happy swirls for everyone!
Another item on the menu is the pancake. Imagawayaki (今川焼き) are very popular and commonplace in Japan; you must have seen these cute puck-shaped pancakes that come in all sorts of fillings! The traditional filling is red bean paste (anko 餡子), and now the classic flavors at most stores are that and custard. Modern flavors include chocolate, blueberry, cheese, and even tuna salad. Mr Bean is an innovator on the forefront of pancake flavors; the seasonal ones in the photo are quinoa (health food fad, check!) with cheese and tomato sauce, and okonomi shibutama (お好みしぶ玉). This has one side of the pancake covered in a McMuffin-like egg and is filled with okonomiyaki fillings of cabbage, ham and red ginger fried in Worcestershire sauce.
Prices range from 160 to 200 yen for a pancake and 200 to 350 yen for a drink. There is some bean shaped pastries that are sold in Bean-kun’s home country that are absolutely delicious and I hope they are brought to Japan soon. However, before that if you’re ever in the vicinity and need a snack to-go, come and say hi to Bean-kun at the Shibuya station location and indulge in some of “life’s simple pleasures”!