Rue de St Anne, a street I am bound to visit whenever I am in Paris – to have a little Asian-food fix after or in between the slew of French feasts that are equally good but inherently inadequate as a cure of homesickness. This area is the Little Tokyo near the Paris Opéra, where you can also find a few lots of Korean eateries and supermarkets.
Lucky for me, apart from the North-African immigrants, there is no lacking of Japanese in the City of Light because, since the 1870s, there has been an inflow of them to France for cultural, intellectual and, more recently, culinary pursuits. Reasons have to be traced back to the Meiji period where Japanese leaders regarded France as a symbol of modern civilisation and a cultural capital. Most of these expatriates speak fluent French but live within their own communities. They are called the “zai furansu nihonjin” (means Japanese people in France) and a popular example would be Kenzo Takada.
Aki Boulanger is one of the shops along Rue de St. Anne. Sitting next to the Korean K-Mart, it is a French-Japanese bakery that offers many kinds of French pastries in green tea flavour.
We were there too early so there weren’t a full selection of cakes and pastries to chose from. Coffee and canned drinks aside, Aki has this deliciously sweet and foamy green tea milkshake (“matcha au lait”).
We got the melon bread, both yuzu and matcha éclairs, matcha opera cake (“kabuki“), an onigiri with bonito flakes and a soba sandwich. Yes, a soba noodle sandwich! And very much to my amusement, there’s also another one that comes with gyoza. This time round, we didn’t give the later a go.
^ The pink shreds are pickled ginger. The bun was so soft that it didn’t feel too odd to have noodles in my sandwich as a whole. I enjoyed the taste but wouldn’t recommend the onigiri – too stingy with the flakes and rice too bland. The rest of the bread and pastries are worth trying. The next time, I’m going to get my hands on the green tea mont blanc.
Now if you’d excuse me, I’m going to make a very scrumptious Chinese dinner and have it in front of the American Gigolo. Ah…… Richard Geeeerrrre.
Have a great week ahead!
With love x