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April 18, Harajuku
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Deep in the heart of Yanaka you'll find Tabi Bagel, a specialist bakery so small that you'd easily miss it. Keep your eyes open for the mini sign in the first floor window - or simply follow the crowds. Tabi's reputation is wide spread, and unless you get in there early, you're likely to miss out on the treats.
The tiny front room shop serves simple but lovingly prepared bagels, made from ingredients imported from as far off as Manitoba. The key to its success, however, is a refusal to experiment heavily with the recipe. Plain, raisin and the slightly more adventurous dukkah - an Egyptian blend of spices - are the three big sellers, so that's where the baker puts his efforts. Occasional variations do occur, of course, and on our visit we tried the grain and orange peel bagel, subtly flavoured and perfectly textured. Our only regret was that we didn't get there early enough to try it fresh from the oven.
Tabi Bagel (which translates as 'travel bagel') is not big enough to house an eat in section, so you're obliged to eat your treat on the hoof, which - given that you're in Yanaka - is no bad thing at all.
Bill (for one)
Grain and orange peel bagel, ¥220