October 22

Zaku Zaku Technique Explained

My local coffee shop just started offering “Mille Fueille” and when I sat down to eat mine, I discovered they’d helpfully provided a little instruction sheet on how to tackle it. Because I’m a veteran fork user, I thought haha this is like the “how to use chopsticks” diagrams you get at American Chinese restaurants and I didn’t bother to read the tip sheet. Unfortunately for me, most “foreign” foods are copied in ideal form here in Japan, and the puff pastry layers were really crisp. I poked it firmly from the top with my fork and the cream filling squished out all over the place. Oops.

The next time I ordered a Mille Fueille, I stopped to read the directions:

1. Take off the clear film wrapping and push the Mille Feuille over on its side.

2. Hold the Mille Feuille with your fork.

3. Cut it with your knife, in a way that makes a zaku zaku sound.

I love that I had to come to Japan to learn how to eat a French pastry.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery seriespublished by Penguin/Intermix.

Published by Penguin/Intermix