Bagels are a unique baked good, if you stop and think about it. They have become very ingrained in many parts of American culture and society, so much so that we seem to have them mentally categorized as essential as bread. You see them everywhere and can enjoy them at the drop of a hat, day or night. Coming to Japan where the culinary tradition differs, finding bagels has been an interesting challenge. Luckily, there is a local bagel shop with their own unique take on bagels in my city: Vanitoy Bagel.
To be clear, their card advertises coffee and “fine baked sweets,” not directly mentioning bagels. They have two shops in Kawagoe: One down the street from Atre mall and the local library, and another on the main street of Coedo (Kurazukuri Street). Both offer the same selection of mainstays, the only difference being the one in Coedo offering seating.
I’ve not had their drinks, but my wife assures me the coffee there is adequate. The real draw are the bagels: hot and fresh six days a week (they are off on Tuesdays). They offer standard bagel fare, such as regular, onion, and sesame bagels. You can even get cream cheese for an extra nominal fee! Vanitoy also takes their own spin on the bagel with an interesting cooking method: They fill the ring of the bagels with some sort of filling for a majority of their specialty bagels. My wife and I recently tried some of their more interesting flavors on our YouTube channel:
Bagel Favorites in Japan
At Vanitoy, there have been a couple of awesome standouts for me. I tend to prefer savory treats, so keep that in mind with my selections.
First, they have an asparagus ham and cheese bagel. This one has, you guessed it, asparagus, ham, and white cheese baked inside the bagel with a bit of crispy cheese and asparagus spears on top. It’s a bit more than the other bagels, but it is a tasty treat I’m always tempted to get when I’m there. Another savory winner is the black pepper and cheese bagel. This one has black pepper bits crushed on top and baked onto the bagel with a pocket of white cheese on the inside. I really enjoy cutting this in half and making a sandwich using a fried chicken patty from Lawson or Family Mart, making a super filling bagel sandwich.
For sweeter treats, Vanitoy has a lot of options. The only one I’ve tried that I’d classify as sweet that impressed me was the Earl Grey bagel. They have quite a few tea-flavored bagels at their shops and I’ve really enjoyed the mix of bagel with tea. There are also some coffee bagels, like mocha and espresso bagels, but since I don’t like coffee, I tend to shy away from ordering those.
They also have some bagel sandwiches and other baked savory treats, like mini pizzas and sausages, so there’s a lot to choose from. Most menu items are 200-500 yen. I’m really happy to have them in our community and look forward to what future concoctions they have in the pipeline.