The Japanese traditionally eat rice for breakfast. They serve it with some grilled fish, Miso soup, egg (either raw on top of the rice or fried as a Japanese-style omelet called Tamago Maki), and of course Natto (the smelly sticky stuff made from fermented soybeans).
But in Nagoya everything is different. The typical breakfast in Nagoya isn’t rice at all, but something we Westerners like to have for breakfast: Toast.
And while the English love to put orange marmalade on their toast (or is that a stereotype?) and the Americans famously eat it with peanut butter (or do they?) the people from Nagoya spread Ogura-an, Japanese sweet red bean paste also known as Anko, on their toast.
That kind of toast is called Ogura Toast.
The Origin of Ogura Toast
It is believed that Ogura Toast originated in 1921 in a coffee shop called Matsuba in the Sakae, in the center of Nagoya.
The owner noticed that some of his younger customers liked to order Zenzai (sweet red bean soup) and slices of toast. They would then proceed to dip the toast into the soup. This inspired the owner to create the first Ogura Toast as we know and love it today.
Since then the popularity has spread, and many coffee shops all over Nagoya sell their own version of Ogura Toast to eager customers every morning.
Variations of Ogura Toast
So, how exactly is an Ogura toast made?
It’s surprisingly simple.
Take a thick slice of Japanese toast called Shokupan, and we mean really thick, 3 to 5 centimeters or even more is perfect. Toast it to gold-brown perfection and spread it with lightly salted butter or margarine.
On top of that spread a generous helping of Ogura-an, a variety of Japanese sweet red bean paste, also known as Anko. It is made by boiling red Azuki beans and adding a lot of sugar.
There are different variations of the Ogura Toast recipe. Some people put on the sweet bean paste first and then place a piece of butter on top to let it melt. Others serve the Ogura toast with some whipped cream on top, and again other coffee shops will sell you the toast in form of an Anko red bean sandwich, with the bean past between two slices of bread.
Ogura Toast is a Nagoya Morning Service Staple
A development that happened in parallel to the creation of Ogura toast was the rise in popularity of what the people of Nagoya call a Nagoya Morning or Nagoya Morning Service the special breakfast in Nagoya.
When you order a beverage, usually coffee or tea, in the morning (usually until 11 a.m.) at a coffee shop in Nagoya you will get a free slice of bread and a boiled egg with it.
Other variations of this Nagoya Morning Service include a small salad and other kinds of toppings for the toast. One of these Nagoya Morning Service variations is Ogura Toast served for free with your morning coffee. A perfect combination for a great start to your day. (You can find out more about the Nagoya Morning Service here)
What does Ogura Toast Taste Like?
After all of this, you might still be wondering whether Ogura Toast really tastes good at all. Sweet beans on toast? It’s kind of hard to imagine.
But we think you shouldn’t imagine it as bean toast, itis very similar in taste and texture to a toast spread with any other kind of jam. It just happens that this particular jam is made from red beans instead of fruit.
The sweet and creamy taste of the Ogura-an goes perfectly with the slightly salty taste of the margarine or butter and this, in turn, is wonderful with an outside crispy, inside a fluffy thick slice of Japanese toast.
The Best Restaurants to Try Ogura Toast in Nagoya
We hope we have made you curious about Ogura Toast and that you want to try it for yourself while you are in Nagoya.
There are countless coffee shops in Nagoya selling Ogura Toast, almost every single one will have it on their menu, but here are our top picks.
Komeda’s Coffee might be the most famous coffee chain from Nagoya, with over 100 shops in Nagoya alone, and more all over the country.
Here you get the chance to try Ogura Toast for free every morning between 7:00 and 11:00 with the order of any beverage. The perfect place to try it for the first time!
Cafe Teaser boasts 14 different free Morning sets, with any 500 yen drink. One of them is an Ogura baguette. With a very nice presentation including fruit, whipped cream, and lots of delicious red bean paste on top of a crunchy toasted baguette.
Cafe Teaser (カフェティーザー)
Opening Hours: Thu – Mon 9:00 – 23:00, Tue 9:00 – 18:00, closed Wednesdays
Address: 3-14 Senrakutori, Minami Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 457-0852
Bucyo Coffee KAKO
The Morning Service here consists of a plain toast or Kaiser roll with a limited selection of drinks. We recommend you try the Kaiser roll with Ogura-an and upgrade it with some whipped cream as well.
Coffee House Kako
For those who want variety for breakfast Coffee House Kako serves the perfect Ogura Toast. Topped not only with Ogura-an and whipped cream but 4 different kinds of homemade jams.
Coffee House Kako (コーヒーハウス かこ)
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7:00 – 19:00, Sat+Sun 7:00 – 17:00
Address: 5-16-17 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 450-0002
You can enjoy Ogura Toast at Kissa Morning all day long. Their Ogura Toast comes as a set with salad, yogurt, and a cute boiled egg. And their Ogura-an is homemade, with just the right amount of sweetness and a very nice consistency with the whole beans still intact.
Kissa Morning (一日中モーニング 喫茶モーニング)
Opening Hours: 8:00 – 15:00
Address: 2-32-4 Noritake, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 453-0014
At Hanagoyomi you can order a generous piece of Ogura Toast, to say the least. To call it a slice is an understatement, as it is so thick it won’t fit into your mouth even if you try. Topped with red bean paste, whipped cream, and some colorful sugar sweets, it is a perfect example of an Ogura Toast.
Remember we mentioned Matsuba as the place where Ogura Toast was invented?
This Kissa Matsuba is not in the original location in Sakae but claims to be the same coffee shop. If you wanted to try the original Ogura Toast, you should definitely visit Kissa Matsuba.
This is one of the few places in Nagoya where you can get breakfast at any time of the day.
The Ogura Toast is served as a hot sandwich, it might not be too pretty, but the taste is all that counts, and this crunchy goodness wins every morning, noon, and evening.
Riyon Coffee Shop (モーニング喫茶 リヨン)
Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00
Address: 1-24-30 Meiekiminami, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 453-0003
How about toast on a hot plate? At New Poppy you get a unique version of Ogura Toast, made from toast with sesame seeds, on a hot plate topped with sweet red bean paste and drizzled with coffee syrup. A very grown-up version of this sweet treat, perfect in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.
New Poppy (喫茶 ニューポピー)
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 8:00 – 18:00, Fri+Sat 8:00 – 10:00
Address: 1-36-52 Nagono, Nishi Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 451-0042
A very unique version of Ogura Toast is served at Kihachi Cafe. Here the toast is first spread with mascarpone cream, topped with Ogura paste, and then lightly sprinkled with Matcha powder.
The thickest slice of toast we have ever found used for Ogura Toast was at Yoake, where the toast is happy (see what we did there?) to be 5 centimeters thick. And the best part? You can put as much Ogura-an on there as you want. No limits, as long as you eat all of it and enjoy yourself while doing so!
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