14 November 2008

Melonpan & Pineapple Bun

If she's not holding a katana, she will be holding one of those.

Those who have watched Shakugan no Shana will know that melonpan is: Shana's favourite food - sweet, hard crusted baked bread with typical cross hatch pattern on top.


Melonpan or meronpan (メロンパン), as described in Wikipedia, are inexpensive, sweet bakery products made from an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crispy cookie dough. Having a shape that's like a melon, its name actually comes from two different languages: "meron" from English for melon, and "pan" from Portugese for bread (pão). Those sweet hard-crusted bread are what Shana loves.

Although it is originally not melon-flavoured, manufacturers and bakeries begin to add variation to melonpan with different flavours (mostly melon) or different fillings. In the more western regions of Japan, they're usually called "sunrise" (サンライズ) due to its different local appearance.

Melonpan can be seen now and then in anime
Images from Gelbooru

On the other hand...


Pronounced as "bo lo baau" or "bo lo bao" in Cantonese, pineapple bun (菠蘿包) is the Hong Kong equivalent of the Japanese melonpan, where "Bo Lo" means pineapple (菠蘿), and "Baau" or "Bao" means bread or bun (包). The checkered pineapple-like surface of the crusts gives name to this pastry. Just like melonpan, they're named after their appearance, not their ingredients or flavours.

Compared to melonpan, pineapple bun has a thin golden-brown crust made from egg and sugar, which is actually a seperate layer to the bun itself. I remember how I used to just peel off the crust and eat it bit by bit because it was so sweet (yet it's high in calorie) ^^;;

Despite the similarities between the two, melonpan and pineapple buns did not base their origin from each other. Maybe it's because of that I never see a melonpan in Hong Kong, nor do I see a pineapple bun in Japan.

Have you had a melonpan or a pineapple bun before? If so, how's it like for you?


  1. I never had melonpan before but will try it if I ever see one in real life.

    As for pineapple bun, I'm sick of it as my mum use to bring it home everyday. I had to tell her stop as our family was getting tired of it.
    Till this day, she still brings it home occasionally. -_-

  2. I ALWAYS have pineapple bun for breakfast and lunch whenever I'm at work. It's very tasty. It's kinda like eating almond cookies on a bread.

    Yakitate Japan had an arc about melon pan too. Really funny stuff :D

  3. melonpan! ^_^ i didn't try it until seeing shakugan no shana ^^; follows my trend of being very easily influenced by anime/manga... started eating mizuyoukan from mahoraba, taiyaki from kanon, melonpan from shana, those disk shaped senbei with nori that machi eats in nagasarete airantou...

    i get my melonpan from japanese grocery stores... every once in a while i'll go to a japanese bakery that makes 'em fresh (although they don't have the usual pattern on top). i love 'em but think the key to enjoying them is knowing from the outset that they don't taste like melon ^_^;

  4. I've had both, and I like them both equally. Pineapple buns are a bit more accessible for me so I end up eating that more often.

  5. I'm very Chinese so I'm VERY familiar with Pineapple buns and their serving styles; I probably had over a few hundred of them in my life time already. They're quite cheap and easy on-the-go fillers. They taste "good" but kinda bland to me. This bun is also one of the most unhealthiest food one can eat xD.

    As for Melonpan... tried it once, and swear I'll never buy it again. At least from that Brand I had. Sadly, I have no way of buying fresh ones. I could get 3 bo lo bao for the price of one similar sized melonpan. Both are disastrously unhealthy though xD.

  6. I love sweet stuff so i love melonpan of course!
    I even made some melonpan mself a few times.
    Id like to eat a pineapple pan too but havent seen them around here.

  7. I haven't come across either, sadly ;_;
    When I ask for it at the bakery.. this is what happens:

    suki: excuse me, do you have melon/pineapple bread?

    bakery: ...

    suki: ...

    bakery: O_o What's that?

    suki: ^^;

    I'm still looking though! If all else fails, I'll try making them myself ^^

  8. oooo 菠萝包. I've been wondering why they look so familiar. But truth be told I don't remember seeing a meronpan yet.

    No matter how many pineapple buns my parents buy, they all disappear within the second day -_-

    Which reminds me, I gotta watch Shakugan no Shana >.>

  9. Funny enough, my fiancee brings meronpan home from Japan. She hates it but I love it!


  10. I'm seeing a few melon-pan posts recently lol~

    I wrote about the melon-pan my brother and I found in the city, we've been to the store before but they never had it available when we'd visit... maybe it was something new? Hehe~

    I didn't know there was a pineapple one too, will keep an eye out for it, looks yummy~

  11. @ Optic:
    Haha has your mother not come up with variety? Sorry to hear that, but it's no big surprise when you are treated with it every day ^^;

    Meronpan is quite similar to it, but has a harder "built-in" crust and is sweeter (I think).

    @ Lightning Sabre:
    Nice! Just beware of the fact that they are a little high in calorie~

    Although I haven't watched Yakitate Japan, I did read that it is explained that the bread and the cookie dough bake at different rate, which is why the inside is still soft. Pretty interesting stuff.

    @ meronpan:
    lol you are heavily influenced by anime. I admit that I start trying out meronpan in Japan only because of Shana :P

    How nice it is to have a Japanese grocery in your area! I did remember seeing a Japanese bakery in Hong Kong once (Yamazaki Bakery), but forgot whether they sold meronpan or not...

    @ Orange:
    Pineapple buns are much more accessible to me back home too!

    @ fudoushin:
    *whispers quietly* Yea pineapple buns are pretty high in fat and chlolesterol... ^^;;

    And wow what kind of meronpan you've had back then? Maybe you should give it another chance one day. :o

    @ Blowfish:
    Pineapple bun should be more accessible in Chinese communities/area. Given that there's a fairly large Japanese community in Düsseldorf, I guess there will be something similar for Chinese stuff as well?

    @ suki:
    Making one sounds nice! I'm sure there are a lot of good recipes out there on the Internet~

    @ gndynames:
    I too haven't seen a meronpan with my own eyes until I went to Japan.

    Hahaha what you said about the pineapple buns disappearing the next day is very similar to what it was like when my cousins came over from America. We just didn't stop eating until there's none!

    @ Apt-1B:
    lol at least she won't steal your meronpan secretly while you're away :P

    You should try a pineapple bun too one day!

    @ Koshiko:
    lol could be a meronpan trend going on recently in the blogosphere...

    How nice that you've got meronpan in your area too! I've yet to see one myself outside Japan ._.

    Just like how meronpan doesn't taste like melon, a pineapple bun doesn't taste like pineapple either ^^;.

  12. Thanks for visiting my blog~ (^o^)/~

    Nowhere near my area, lol. Takes me over an hour travel to get to the city via bus and train.
    Though you reminded me I have a bakery in the local shopping centre, they might have it [still have to catch a bus to get there though, lol]. I'll try and remember to visit next time I'm close by. Thanks~

  13. hmm... i haven't tried both before actually. ^^;

  14. @ koshiko:
    Oh I see. At least it's still reachable for you. I need to wait until I get back home in Hong Kong to have either!

    @ gordon:
    Really? You should try at least one of them one day!

  15. Do. Want. Meronpan.

  16. @ Kairu Ishimiaru:
    Me too...


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