In Taiwan, Bread Looks Like Watermelons

By Clara Olshansky |
FWX WATERMELON BREAD 1

© Joanna Cismaru

Can’t get enough watermelon this summer? Now, thanks to Jimmy's Bakery in Yilan County, Taiwan, even your bread can remind you of watermelon.

Owner of the bakery, Lee Wen-fa, found that children were losing their appetites during the summer, but had no trouble eating sweet foods like watermelon. Thus the watermelon toast (as it's referred to even in its untoasted state) was born. But the watermelon toast does not just appeal to children. It's become a cultural craze and an Instagram sensation. The bakery sells about 1,500 of these vividly colored slices a day, and customers line up at 11AM every morning, though they could just order the loaves online.

The bread, available in both red watermelon and yellow watermelon, is made to resemble Japanese square watermelons (if you want watermelon squares instead of square watermelon by the way, Food & Wine's Justin Chapple has you covered). The streaked green exterior is achieved with matcha green tea powder. The red color is created with food dye and strawberries, while the yellow color is solely food dye. The "seeds" are made from bits of bamboo charcoal, an edible material popular in Japan and China.

Fittingly enough, given its Japanese inspiration, watermelon toast has become a huge sensation in Japan. Seen as a novelty item, loaves of watermelon bread sell for as much as $100 each.

If you can't drop everything and fly to Taiwan or Japan, you can make your own watermelon bread at home. Replacing the matcha powder and strawberry with plain food dye and the bamboo charcoal with raisins, it doesn't have quite the exoticism of Jimmy's Bakery's creation. But then, if we dropped everything and went to Eastern Asia every time a cute food came out, we'd all be broke. 

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