It’s a fact: Traveling through Japan is an endless culinary adventure. From ramen to sushi to street foods and impossibly sweet fruit, the options are astounding. That excellence also applies to Japanese pastries.
“My favorite pastries in the entire world are in Japan,” says world-famous producer and DJ Steve Aoki, whose Japanese heritage and world travels have long inspired his love for the country. “When it comes to culinary craftsmanship in Japan, the bar is set so high,” he says, “and that’s definitely the case in the pastry world. [Pâtissiers] spend so much time working on perfecting these pastries.”
One of his favorites is Japan’s strawberry shortcake, which is, in Aoki’s opinion, next level. Many Japanese like to bake them for Christmas and present them as gifts on special occasions. Made up of a few layers of feather-light sponge cake, freshly sliced strawberries, whipped cream filling and frosting, Aoki says, “You’ll never taste anything like it anywhere else.”
There’s also the Raisinwich, another Aoki favorite that he devours when in Japan, which he describes as “little delicate biscuits with raisins and a soft, light cream inside.” This sublime pastry is made of raisins soaked in liquor, paired with a confectionary cream and sandwiched between two cookies. You can find the original at one of the city’s most famous patisseries, Ogawaken, in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood.
But Aoki’s all-time favorite Japanese pastry shop was opened by a chef he happens to share a name with: Sadaharu Aoki. Though they are not related, Aoki appreciates the pâtissier’s mouthwatering confections, which can be found in Tokyo at Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris.
A bit of background on the world-famous pastry chef: After graduating from cooking school in Tokyo, he moved to France and worked for an array of famous French pastry masters. Along the way, he began to bake using traditional Japanese ingredients and flavors with painstaking French techniques.
Eventually, Aoki began to open studios and boutiques of his own around Paris, Tokyo and Nagoya, and his Tokyo Midtown location in Akasaka is the one Steve Aoki frequents the most. They serve colorful macarons, sweet-filled croissants, chocolate bonbons and more.
“Any pastry lovers must check this place out!” he says.
For more on Steve Aoki’s favorite food, tune into his Spotify podcast, “Aoki ’N Air.” You’ll also find episodes that dive deep into his passions for art, music, fashion and more.