Hot Tuna Pizza Crepe

Welcome to a little photo essay about dining in Japan. Click on any of the thumbnail images to see a larger version. While the Japanese are supposed to lack creativity, I sure think they show plenty when it comes to food. Some of it's completely new, but in other cases--like this one--it takes the form of a rather unexpected combination of other elements.

This picture pretty much says it all, even if it is only a plastic model and doesn't look too much like the real thing. The model is kind of an exploded view with a wavy plastic wafer that looks like a small crepe. They arrange the appropriate plastic ingredients on top. The Hot Tuna Pizza Crepe has some plastic tubes that don't do a very good job of looking like shredded cheese, and plastic tuna and tomato sauce that succeed a bit better.

The natural place to start is with the procedure for creating the tuna pizza crepe. The cook starts with a large round griddle and some crepe batter. The batter is quickly spread around the hot griddle using a circular motion with a little wand. Is that the normal technique in France? But after this, cheese is put in the target area, about a one eighth pie slice of the full circle. Then tuna is added, followed by onions and some pizza sauce. Next, we return to normal reality: a spatula is used to separate the crepe from the grill, and it is carefully folded around the ingredients. First it's folded in half, then again folded very close to the ingredients, but only about a third of the semicircle, because the final fold comes from the other side. The result is a wedge, about 1/6th of the circle and bulging with all the ingredients inside it. Now the cook wraps the bottom part in paper and calls the customer to dinner. And it actually does taste pretty good.

Here are some photos of the real thing, looking rather like a flattened ice cream cone with a paper wrapping around most of the lower part. Actually, all of the finished products look pretty much like flattened ice cream cones--and some of them really have the ice cream, too. On the right side we have a cross section view where I've already eaten several big bites. Yum, yum!!

Crepe shops like this one are pretty common in Japan, though I haven't checked out too many of their menus. This shop offers quite a selection of ice cream and main course crepes, as well as some fruity dessert crepes that are probably closer to their distant French ancestors. The lighted case in front of the cook contains plastic models of all of the different kinds. The main course crepes like the Hot Tuna Pizza Crepe are mostly on the left side, and the right side are mostly dessert crepes with ingredients like fruit and ice cream and chocolate.