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Meet the Potatorella: Tokyo’s Mozzarella Cheese Craze!

Meet the Potatorella: Tokyo’s Latest Mozzarella Cheese Craze!

I am not one who loves to follow trends especially in Tokyo. Tokyo has plenty of really good street food, from yakitori in Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku, to Sushi in Tsukiji (now relocated in Toyosu fish market) and all the way to Michelin star restaurants dotting the major neighborhoods in Tokyo.

With that, there isn’t really much room to enjoy trendy food. So I’ve decided to pass on the crepes and the long lines forming for Coco tea in Shibuya (which didn’t really made any sense to me). Except, the #instafood explosion just contributed to a lot of inventive food treats that you couldn’t possibly imagine, especially with this so-called “Potatorella”.

Walk along Shibuya’s center gai and you may chance upon a long line for corndogs and classic hotdogs. But look closer, and they aren’t really selling regular corndogs. In what seems to be bizarre, it turns out the stand is actually selling fried mozzarella cheese. I decided to pass on this, remembering what the mozzarella cheese sticks tasted like at Prospect Park’s Smorgasburg. (It was five pieces of mozzarella cheese sticks, jeez.)

A quick Google search told me this was a food trend originating from Korea, and known as the Arirang Hotdog. Don’t ask me why they call it Arirang, but apparently the trend died in Japan’s Shinokubo neighborhood, also known as Koreatown. Now, the trend is back from the dead.

I visited Harajuku once again to just, well, entertain myself. I lost myself in color, almost falling asleep, until I saw it again – these bizarre mozzarella cheese sticks that already had long lines snaking behind the colorful shops. I was up for a food challenge.

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The line was actually quick, and when I was closer to the stall, I finally saw what they have been cooking.

One lady was pulling mozzarella cheese out of a bin, dipping it in some sort of batter and covering it with, well, croutons. In contrast to the stall in Shibuya, this was covered in croutons. I felt my jaw dropped as I was about to pay a ridiculous 1400 yen for two sticks that was a kid’s meal made in paradise.

Thankfully, my niece and nephew, who were quite the adventurous foodie like me now that they are growing up, have decided to be Candid Cuisine’s minions for the day.

Let’s try out the #cheesepull challenge.

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Ok, I drizzled it with mustard and ketchup and it was like eating a ridiculous amount of junk food in one sitting. It was guilty pleasure in a stick.

I had a chance to try out the ones covered in potato in Shibuya, but it wasn’t as good as this one.

Delicious? It was, especially if you’ve had a bad day. You know what I mean. It’s like food made for Mondays.