Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (Full List of Locations)

Sometimes you encounter a fictional character who speaks to your soul, who is you. For me, Kantaro Ametami is such a character. He is the hero of Netflix’s Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman, a weird-af but delightful show based on the manga Saboriman Ametani Kantarou.

Kantaro is a salesman at a publishing company, but his true passion and top priority is sweets (#relatable).

Same

He arranges his sales calls and maximizes his productivity in order to visit Tokyo’s best sweets destinations during the work week. He documents each visit on his blog, which he writes under the pseudonym “Sweets Knight.” His sweets obsession and workday-shirking is a dark secret that he must conceal from his colleagues. But one of them, Kanako, follows the blog (she comments on it as “Sweets Princess”) and suspects that Kantaro is the Sweets Knight.

When you’re surrounded by people who don’t properly respect dessert.

Each episode centers around a single dessert, with Kantaro visiting a real shop in Tokyo that serves it in its highest, purest form. The show breaks down the ingredients and techniques that go into the dessert with rapturous narration from Kantaro and surreal, gratuitous food-porn shots. This part is educational and sometimes oddly erotic.

“It’s magnificently creamy!”
Come for the wacky premise, stay for the shots of firm, glistening desserts.

Upon eating the first bite of the dessert, he enters “sweets paradise,” a vignette in which he interacts with the dessert or its ingredients.

For example, a love triangle where he must choose between a curvy and self-sacrificial caramel pudding, or a slender and vampish almond tofu.

Jiggling with anger.

Or where he beholds… an erupting peach.

Do not watch Episode 4: Parfait with your parents.

If you love dessert and the idiosyncrasy of Japanese manga, you’ll want to binge watch this sweets paradise.

True believer.

Here’s my foursquare list of all the shops featured on the show. Follow it to use as an itinerary while you visit Tokyo! I’ll update it if another season of Kantaro comes out. Many thanks to user danny_ds for posting the full list on Reddit:

  1. Episode 1: Anmitsu –  red bean paste with white syrup.
  2. Episode 2: Kakigori – shaved ice.
  3. Episode 3: Mamekan – kanten (agar agar cubes) with red bean paste, topped with brown sugar syrup.
  4. Episode 4: Parfait – fruits parfait.
  5. Episode 5: Hotcakes
  6. Episode 6: Bavarian Matcha Cream
  7. Episode 7: Savarin – aka rum baba; a brioche cake soaked in syrup with custard cream and rum-soaked raisins.
  8. Episode 8: Ohagi
  9. Episode 9: Eclair – choux pastry filled and topped with cream.
  10. Episode 10: Caramel Pudding
  11. Episode 11: Chocolate
  12. Episode 12: Mont Blanc – sweetened pureed chestnuts.

References
IMDB
Reddit

Studio du Double-V

Studio du Double-V is a bit of an Instagram playground.  I respect a business that has marketing savvy and makes a good product, which Double-V does.

A friend suggested visiting after seeing the place tagged on Instagram (of course), so we stopped by on a sweltering hot day a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, no respite from the heat was to be found. The shop is essentially a counter with a small outdoor seating area. It’s tucked into the corner of what looks like a residential building on a residential street, but it’s easy to spot from the huge murals.

A colorful mural looming large over Double V.
The devil loves ice cream.
Order at the counter.

The menu features 9 flavors at a time, but I heard that nearly 100 flavors rotate through! That means there are plenty of interesting and unusual ones to try.

Flavors: sour cherry, cactus, green mango, olive oil, cardamom and grape, buckwheat, vanilla, rosemary and orange, chocolate. [S] means sorbet, [G] means ice cream.
One cup costs $110 TWD and you can choose two flavors. I chose sour cherry and rosemary and orange, and JW chose cactus and orange and rosemary. JW also ordered a waffle (it is a side order, not combined with the ice cream).

Sour cherry and orange and rosemary.
Cactus and orange and rosemary.

Orange and rosemary was so good that both of us ordered it. I wouldn’t have thought that those two ingredients complement each other, but they do! The orange is only lightly tart, and the rosemary comes in at the finish, leaving behind a savory aroma. I thought the sour cherry and cactus were both too sweet, which made it hard to appreciate the flavors.

Everything sampled had a great smooth texture, no ice crystals to be found. Even properly textured ice cream can’t stand up to Taiwan’s summer heat, though. You have to eat it fast (and snap your Instagram photos) or you’ll end up drinking it.

Wear blue.

Interesting flavors and the photogenic setting make this shop worth a visit. However, no indoor seating means sweating in the heat. Visiting at night might be a more comfortable experience.

Studio du Double-V
No. 3, Lane 85, Linsen North Rd.
Zhongshan District

Angel Gelato

Everybody knows that the best spots in Taipei are tucked away on the side streets.

Angel Gelato is on Lane 50 off Taishun Street, the main street running through Shida Night Market. Lane 50 is one of the quieter side streets, which is probably why this sign points the way:

“Gelato” in lights. I’m like a moth to a flame…

Follow it to this small and tidy store. Behind the freezer the case, there is a small seating area with a loveseat and a wooden bench.

The available flavors were a mix classic gelato flavors with two season fruit flavors: walnut, pistachio, gianduja, vanilla, zabaione (a type of Italian wine custard), and pineapple and watermelon (these were actual gelatos, not sorbets). The 老闆 was generous with the samples, so we tried everything.

Classic and fruit flavors.
A small cup is plenty for one person, and you can choose two flavors.

Pistachio was the stand-out flavor. It was a natural green color (no neon green coloring), mellow in flavor with tiny pistachio pieces. Unfortunately, there was only enough left for one of us to order it! The gianduja was excellent. The walnut was OK, but the artificial flavoring was a bit too strong. I thought the fruit flavors were a bit strange and better suited for sorbet, but overall not too bad. Every flavor had a smooth, creamy texture (no ice crystals!) without being super rich or super sweet. A good balance.

Pineapple and vanilla.
Pistachio and walnut.
Gianduja and walnut.

I’d like to come back in a couple of months to see if they will offer any new flavors. The texture of their gelato is above average, but some of the current flavors need some work (pistachio being the exception). The CP is high and I love that you can choose two flavors, plus the service was friendly. Try it after you’re done shopping in the night market!

Angel Gelato
No. 27, Lane 50, Taishun Street
Daan District

好想吃冰 (I Want Ice So Much)

Sometimes a Chinese name translated into English becomes not very name-like. For example: 好想吃冰 , or literally “I want ice so much.” As far as Chinese names go, it’s a pretty good one for an ice shop!

It’s obvious from the outside that this is a Japanese-style shop, and the tall windows and indoor lighting make it look warm and inviting. Inside, the decor is minimal and modern, with a few two- and four-top tables and a few low tables where you can sit on the floor. There’s also a room in the back with a large table (probably have to make a reservation to use it).

Dessert is undoubtedly the main draw, but they also serve rice bowls—all vegetarian. I actually didn’t know this until we opened the menu. I ordered a kimchi bowl and KT ordered a cheese bowl, both of which are built on tofu skin (豆皮). I don’t eat tofu skin, so I did not enjoy the food. If you think tofu skin is a good replacement for meat, your experience may be better. Each bowl comes with miso soup and costs $109 to $159 TWD.

Kimchi rice bowl (韓式泡菜丼)
Cheese bowl (濃厚起司燒)

I ordered the peanut shaved ice, which is Japanese-style (kakigori) so the ice is similar to an American-style snowcone, but softer. It’s piled high, drizzled with peanut syrup, dusted with peanut powder, and topped with a giant pillow of mochi. It’s eye-popping, for sure, but the flavor is not too strong or sweet due to the amount of ice. The mochi was super soft, and I love the visual effect of it hugging a big pile of ice, but it was actually very difficult to eat. I ended up pulling it off onto a plate to eat separately.

KT ordered the black sesame ice, which is even more eye-popping. It looks like a volcano, or a stalagmite. The ice is covered in black sesame powder, and a sprinkling of peanuts and scoop of black sesame ice cream rest at the base. It comes with a side of peanut syrup and hot barley tea. Like the peanut ice, the flavor is pretty light due to the amount of ice compared to the toppings.

I also ordered a soy powder dango, which is sweetened by a drizzle of black sugar syrup. If you don’t know what dango is, you’ve at least seen it in emoji form: 🍡. It’s mochi that is lightly grilled and served in triplets on a skewer. There are many possible flavors and toppings. It’s served warm, with a slightly crisp outer layer from grill contact.

The dango was my favorite item from this visit, and I wish I could have tried the other flavors. The shaved ice looks better than it tastes. Personally I like Taiwan-style ice (刨冰 and 雪花冰) better than kakigori. In 刨冰 the ice is similar to kakigori, but the toppings-to-ice ratio is greater. In 雪花冰 the ice itself is flavored and is much softer and smoother.  Shaved ice costs around $130 to $180 TWD and one order of dango costs $60 TWD.

好想吃冰 would not be my first choice for shaved ice, unless I wanted something very light. However, I would return (ideally with a big group of friends) in order to try the other dango flavors, the other dessert items, and the onigiri. I would also try one one of the low sitting tables, because the backless wooden chairs are not comfortable for sitting longer than 15 minutes. The nice environment and friendly service make this shop a welcome, slightly upscale option in the Taida/Gongguan area.

好想吃冰台大公館店
No. 80, Wenzhou Street
Daan District, Taipei