Pão de queijo, (ポンデケージョ), or cheese buns, are types of cheese-based buns that originated in Brazil. Their doughy and fluffy texture has made them extremely popular in Japan as Japanese people seem to have a thing for foods that are textured similarly to mochi.
There is a pão de queijo specialty bakery in Ikebukuro (池袋) called Pon-de Coffee (ぽんでCOFFEE). I am personally a huge sucker for the fluffy cheese buns as my mom made them when I was little, and I highly recommend Pon-de Coffee as they serve a unique kind of pão de queijo, or ponde (ぽんで) in Japanese.
— ぽんでCOFFEE (@Ponde_regro) December 21, 2016
“Pon-de” is the name of Pon-de Coffee’s bite-sized pão de queijos. They are no longer limited to their traditional cheese flavor, and the pon-des now come in over 100 flavors!
The shop decided to take off the “queijos” part of the word, which means cheese in Portugese, in order to be able to provide various flavors of buns. There are constantly over 12 flavors available at the bakery every day, and each one is 80 to 100 yen, making them extremely affordable.
There are both sweet and savory pon-des such as matcha (抹茶; green tea), pumpkin, honey ginger, and flavors even like meat sauce and red ginger. The pon-des are made from tapioca powder (the same things inside bubble tea), resulting in a unique, fluffy texture that can only be found here.
The coffee available at Pon-de Coffee is also specially roasted at the roastery next door and hand dripped on order. All the coffee beans used are specially chosen from the coffee farm and hand- checked for any damaged beans. This meticulous effort leads to a coffee that has no rough flavors. The beans are ground every day just enough to be used up that day in order to keep all the beans freshly ground.
— ぽんでCOFFEE (@Ponde_regro) November 30, 2016
Pon-de Coffee also offers desserts made from the pon-de buns. The “po-po-pon-de” is a miniature sandwich made from a sweet pon-de and with whipped cream, marshmallows, mascarpone cheese, and berries. The fluffy and adorable appearance of these little desserts is most definitely photo-worthy and they taste like you’re eating little sweet clouds.
There are various menus available including a pon-de set with quiches, five pon-des and a soup, or a pon-de sandwich, coffee, and sausages. The pon-de sandwiches are made with the same dough as the pon-des, giving them a unique texture that you wouldn’t expect from a normal sandwich. The great thing about Pon-de Coffee is that they are open from 7:00am until 9:00pm on weekdays and from 10:00am until 9:00pm on weekends, so if you ever need a place to stop by before school or work, this would be a great choice.
For anyone who loves fluffy textured bread like I do, I highly recommend Pon-de Coffee. You will definitely not be disappointed with their high-quality coffee and bread rolls. You can take out some of the items as well as the coffee so these would be perfect gifts or snacks for the road.
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