Growing up in Japan, finding a bagel was about as easy as finding that tree grows money. When we visited New York City on a field trip, one of the breakfast stop was at a bagel shop, where I ate my first one, it was love at first bite. With the addition of slathered-on cream cheese, I was hooked. Today’s Tokyo boasts a few chains where one can find this delicacy, but comparing their version to the real New York bagel is like comparing frozen pizza to wood-fired oven pizza. This is surprising, considering that the Japanese are known for perfecting products; even in the bread world, where Japanese baguettes could stand up to Paris’ best. From this, I wonder why the Japanese bagel hasn’t reached perfection. People say it’s all in the water, so perhaps that could be it.
My husband who is both a bread snob, and Jewish, always has a bagel on his to-do list after arriving in New York from Los Angeles. Once again, is it the New York water or is it some long lost bit of know-how whose secret is kept by a select group of Manhattan bakers? Larry King has recently tried to bring the best of the East Coast to the West by opening a new bagel shop in Beverly Hills using “Brooklynize” water…
I love a dense, chewy sesame bagel slightly toasted, with a schmear of cream cheese and tomato. But with over 600 calories and 20-plus grams of fat, it won’t be a part of my daily menu until a designer creates a fashionable line of stretch pants. When it’s time to treat myself with the best, I want only a doughy delight that will rise to the occasion. For that, I head to Murray’s Bagels in the West Village in New York City.
I have to give the Japanese credit for trying to popularize the bagel, but they still need a bit more research and development to recreate the magic of something as special as Murray’s. They could also use a bit of work on their English grammar, as the picture below shows a Japanese bagel shop in Roppongi, which I’m assuming, is trying to convey the idea that they offer a bagel of the month.