Aug 12, 2016
Granola in Japan
I hate breakfast. Especially in summer. My stomach knots up so tight, to quote a line from Ferris Bueller, if you could stick a lump of coal in there, you’d come out with a diamond.
The prospect of a traditional Japanese breakfast (rice, fish, miso soup) instills me with all the enthusiasm of the first day of school after summer break. I usually roll with yoghurt and a banana. If I’m feeling a bit flush, I like to go with some granola.
I love granola almost as much as I hate breakfast. You can buy granola and muesli in Japan, but it’s expensive. At least I think it is, compared to back home. I feel like I’m usually paying around 400 yen for about 300 g of home brand stuff from the supermarket. It tastes good though.
I’m always on the lookout for tasty looking granola and muesli (I lead an exciting life). Stores like Kaldi and Seijo Ishii usually offer plenty of the quality Swiss brands, but those really do come at a premium.
The other day I happened to be in an Aeon supermarket. It’s not usually on my radar, but there I was, granola senses on high alert. They lead me to the appropriate shelves and among the familiar offerings, Aeon had attempted to jazz up their own home brand (TOPVALU - their spelling) series - at a price.
It always makes me smirk the way retailers give their home brands a more organic look (usually by way of beige packaging) so as they can charge more for it. Lawson convenience stores are a good example, with their ‘natural’ stores.
You can buy small packets of Aeon’s TOPVALU granola (150g) for around 200 yen. I spotted four varieties (above); apple cinnamon, chocolate, maple, earl grey (Really?). You only get the granola though. No dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate bits. This you have to buy separately. Which I did. On the granola front, I went with apple cinnamon. Then over to the toppings …
Almond & chocolate chip, berry mix, almond & walnuts, strawberry & banana. Banana is about the only fruit I can afford in Japan, so I went with the berry mix. These packets are around 150 yen, if I remember correctly.
Now, my choices combined well. This is some tasty granola. Cost-performance wise, well, I’ll get about three servings from the granola, but I’m already out of my berry mix.
If anyone out there has any granola recommendations in Japan, they would be more than welcome.
Earl Grey granola sounds interesting. There's a Calbee brand granola called フルグラ & I get 大きめマンゴー sometimes (there's also a strawberry flavor). It's 200 gr. for 199 yen including tax from a local place called ダイレックス (D!), which we haven't seen around Kanto, but I think you can find Calbee brand everywhere. Plus, if you like muesli, you could buy what you want in bulk & mix your own (like a weeks' worth in a canister) to save money.
I love love love granola ! I've given up a little bit on japanese cereal and granola efforts. I found a store I can buy big bags of nuts and oats etc and it seems to work out cheaper in the long run and much tastier to make my own. If you have a little toaster oven you make some up for the week on advanced. It will keep in an airtight container for about a week. My favourite recipe is one for coconut pecan chocolate granola :) 2tbsp honey mixed with 1/4 cup coconut oil and melt Add in 2 cups oats 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup shredded coconut and mix Spread on a baking sheet and add to toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes Once cooled add in chocolate chip chunks :) Once you have bought the big bag of oats and coconut and nuts etc you can switch up the flavourings yourself. There are loads of recipes online for home made granola :) Hope you can give it a try !