October 15, 12 | Hokkaido Likers
"Senshu An" is a well loved pastry shop that has a long history in Hokkaido. What began as a small business has grown over the years and is now split into three separate companies. Those three branches are "Sapporo Senshu An," Obihiro's "Rokkatei" (The name was changed in 1977), and the "Senshu An Main Branch."
The main branch began spreading the art of pastry making throughout Hokkaido in 1860, when it first opened its doors for business. Mr. Hanshi Akita, a man of many professions including seafood brokerage, started the shop after coming up with the "Konbu Pastry," an original sweet kelp treat. He used this creation as the basis for the store, and named the shop in memory of his hometown.
The Konbu Pastry may have been the treat that started the store, but today the top item is their delicious "Dorayaki," a delicious Japanese treat which is made of two pancakes sandwiching delicious red bean paste. There are those who say that the pancake is the most important part of the dorayaki, and if this is true than the beautiful light brown cakes that Senshu An's Main Branch uses are some of the best around. They have a soft sweetness and leave a wonderful taste in your mouth.
The secret of the great pancake flavor is their special two step batter mixing process. The batter is mixed once in the evening and once the following morning before being cooked in a steamer, giving it a wonderfully smooth and fluffy texture. The sweet bean paste in the center of each dorayaki is also given special treatment. Made from southern Hokkaido Akane adzuki beans which go through a three day preparation before being used. Although the sweetness is subtle, the quality of the ingredients give this treat an all-around great taste.
The techniques used to make this treat were originally taught by Mr. Sakitaro Matsuda, who worked and lived in Tokyo in the early 1900’s. However after the Great Kanto Earthquake he was called to Hakodate by a previous student and took up the mantel of head of the Senshu An shop, becoming the 4th owner.
Mr. Sakitaro has had a great impact on the Hokkaido confectionary industry. In 1921, the foreman of the Otaru Senshu An shop left and opened an independent branch in Sapporo. Likewise, many workers at the Sapporo branch have left to create their own independent confectionaries, meaning that the techniques originally used by Mr. Sakitaro have been passed down and spread throughout Hokkaido.
But to this day, despite it's great influence and long history, the Senshu An Main Branch still operates in its original building. The charm of the Japanese treats, especially the delicious dorayaki, brings customers the same joy today that it has provided over the years. The shop celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010, and all three current branches are still going strong! So be sure to grab a bite of this delicious treat the next time you're in Hokkaido.
◇ (株)千秋庵総本家 (Senshu An Main Branch)
9-9, Horai-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
★ 1 Piece - 189 Yen
★ 5 Piece Box - 1,095 Yen
★ 10 Piece Box - 2,090 Yen
＊ For more detailed information check out the book “Confectionery Graffiti in Hokkaido” by Toshinobu Tsukada.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Tetsu)