Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomediningManpuku Sando is a new sandwich shop at Cuppage Plaza selling sandos...

Manpuku Sando is a new sandwich shop at Cuppage Plaza selling sandos with red bean paste, beef and more

Opened in November 2023, Manpuku Sando is a compact sandwich shop located in the basement of Cuppage Plaza. The cutesy Japanese vibes of this pink-themed joint stands out amid the worn-out, dingy ambience of the mall, where time seems to have paused.

Manpuku, which means “to be happy with a full stomach” in Japanese, offers seven types of sandos (Japanese-style sandwiches) that are served with their enticing cross-sections on display.

No kawaii fruit-and-cream sarnies here, but they include savoury fillings like beef, pork and smoked salmon, as well as a sweet red bean paste and whipped cream option. Prices range from S$14.80 to S$24.80.

HER SECOND ATTEMPT AT SELLING SANDOS

In 2019, Sawaya relocated to Singapore after accepting a communications manager role at the now-closed Japanese restaurant-bar, Yakan Hikou, in Concorde Shopping Mall. The chirpy millennial said that her favourite thing about working in Singapore is its more relaxed pace in comparison to her home country.

“I feel that people are more relaxed here. In Japan, I always felt like I was caught in the rat race. I plan to stay and work here for as long as possible,” said Sawaya, who currently holds a work visa.

When Yakan Hikou’s business was affected by COVID-related restrictions, Sawaya proposed that the restaurant-bar switch to selling moedan sandwiches instead. The concept ran for about six months, but the pandemic ultimately led to the restaurant’s closure in 2020.

Fast forward to May this year, Sawaya joined izakaya Dosukoi x Donpachi as a customer service manager. Noting that the restaurant’s bar area was unused in the daytime (the izakaya, known for its sashimi and tempura dishes as well as extensive sake selection, opens from 5pm to 3am), she revisited the sando concept.

“In the day, they don’t use this space at all so I thought it’d be a good idea to use it to sell sandos. My boss agreed to let me try it out,” she shared. Sawaya now works full-time at Manpuku Sando, where she makes all the sandwiches while an assistant helps to serve customers.

TWO TYPES OF BREAD USED

The sandos here are made from two types of bread: Shokupan (Japanese milk bread) and multigrain. Both are sourced from a local bakery supplier and are lightly toasted before assembly. The milk bread is fluffy and has a mildly sweet fragrance, though not as cottony and wispy compared to Japanese shokupan specialists like Paaru. Studded with chopped nuts and grains, the regular multigrain bread is pretty soft and more aromatic than your typical chain bakery loaf.

FUWATORO TRUFFLE TAMAGO SANDO, S$14.80

How does the quintessential Japanese egg sando fare here? We like how larger chunks of hard-boiled egg are folded into the smoother, creamy mashed egg mayo mixture for textural contrast. While the truffle oil-infused filling gives it a more luxe spin, we’re not sure if that alone warrants the rather steep price tag for a simple egg mayo shokupan sando.

CRICHEE SMOKED SALMON CHEESE SANDO, S$19.80

The crunchiest, most refreshing item on the menu elevates the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese combo with a colourful medley of grated carrot, purple cabbage, asparagus, capers and olives, served on multigrain bread. A good option if you’re looking for something lighter but still satisfying.

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