My Accidental Japanese Dessert

On Friday, before Chuck left on his work trip, I made a reservation at a cute little restaurant on a quiet, picturesque street that I found on one of my wanderings. I perused the drinks section of the menu and determined to try something different and local. I spotted
“milk zenzai” and suddenly realized I had been craving bubble tea. I speculated that perhaps the milk zenzai would be similar to the milk tapioca tea that I so loved at the Asian restaurants back home, and ordered a glass with my meal.

When my dinner came without the milk zenzai, I tried to ask our waitress about it. Of course, my lack of Japanese language skills made this extraordinarily difficult, and while she understood that I was asking about milk zenzai, neither of us could communicate my specific issue. I only ended up confusing her and embarrassing myself by the time I gestured “never mind” and demonstrated happy satisfaction with my glass of water.

Moments after we finished our meal, the waitress brought me this:

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“Milk zenzai!” she chirped. Chuck and I looked at each other and grinned. Of course milk zenzai isn’t a beverage – it’s a dessert! I must have confused the sections on the menu (no real surprise there.) Feeling foolish, we gave it a try. It did have the sweet tea flavor, and there were tapioca balls submerged in the milky liquid, so I like to think I wasn’t too far off. However, I was mystified by the presence of kidney beans in a dessert. The pastry-like piece in the middle of the bowl was a sort of baked bean-puff as well, that made for a most unique flavor. I enjoyed the sweet milk, but jury is still out on the bean-pastry. It was yummy and different to be sure, but I mean – it’s no chocolate lava cake 🙂 Chuck, on the other hand, thought every bit of it was delightful.

I’m really glad I made the mistake, because I tried something new that I otherwise may not have gone for, had I known what it was. Here are some pictures of the rest of the meal… just because 🙂

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