Welcome to Matsumoto Koji no Sekaikan, or The World According to Koji Matsumoto, a colorful and chaotic purveyor of Japanese favorite koppe-pan. So what is koppe-pan? It’s a like a hot dog roll that thinks it’s a hamburger roll, which is to say it’s about the width of a hamburger roll and the length of a hot dog roll… did I lose you guys yet? Look at the pictures and you’ll see what I mean. My point is koppe-pan is a simple bread without any overpowering flavors, so it goes well with literally anything, and Mr. Matsumoto is here to prove it. [日本語]
So the story goes (and I don’t know if this is true or not) that Hiroshima native Koji Matsumoto was just your average 45-year-old working at an accounting office with a passion for baked goods. After 13 straight years of failing his accountancy exams, he decided to pursue his passion instead, and thus, Matsumoto Koji no Sekaikan was born. Opening in March 2018, this relative newcomer to the downtown scene has certainly caused a commotion on social media with it’s extremely Insta-worthy shop decked out in electric pinks, blues, and yellows. The interior is papered with flyers featuring Mr. Matsumoto, rainbow afro wigs, neon plastic statues, Turkish-inspired lamps, and wide swaths of purple, blue, and pink paint in a cacophony of color. In the back room, staff members are busy cutting away at a mountain of freshly-made dough for any one of the 21-plus varieties of sandwiches that Mr. Matsumoto offers.
Now the most popular sandwich, aptly named the Matsumoto Butter Sandwich, features thick slices of raisin butter (butter with whole raisins mixed in) atop smooth red bean paste from Hokkaido. However, as your humble Food Snob is not a fan of raisins, I instead chose three sandwiches that best represent the three food groups: sweet, savory, and fried. Let’s have a look.
From the sweet category, we have the Lemon Pie.
First things first, each of these were made right in front of me; no stocked, soggy sandwiches here. Second, they were all much larger than I expected, and with the most expensive one only setting you back 350 yen, I was pretty impressed at the cost performance.
So, onto the Lemon Pie. An homage to the English classic, this sandwich features a thick layer of a lemon curd/custard hybrid, complete with candied lemon peel, and a generous amount of sweet whipped cream, finished with a smattering of crushed flaky puff pastry. The lemon doesn’t overpower the whipped cream, and the whipped cream doesn’t overpower the lemon. The soft, fresh-baked-chewy koppe-pan provides a lovely balance to the sweetness.
From savory, we have the Toasted Cheese Curry.
One half is covered with a thick curry paste with bits of carrot and onion, and the other half is covered with a generous amount of egg salad, then topped with shredded cheese which is toasted with a gas burner. The egg salad was a surprising choice but it lends a mild creaminess to the curry paste, which errs on the side of socially-acceptable-spicy. Unfortunately the cheese gets lost in the egg salad, so much so that I found myself wondering if I imagined them toasting it to bubbly, melty goodness only moments before.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Malasada.
A tribute to its Hawaiian namesake, the Malasada is essentially a giant powdered donut, which, let’s be honest, is the best kind of powdered donut. Freshly fried and served piping hot, this koppe-pan is not daintily dusted with powdered sugar, it’s CAKED with it from head to toe and I’m here for it. The melt-in-your-mouth sugary outside combined with the moist, feather-soft inside create a messy mouthful of pure bliss. And at a mere 140 yen, it’s a steal.
Perfect for something when you’re on the go but not looking for konbini fare, Matsumoto Koji no Sekaikan might not change your world view, but it will certainly make it 267% more whimsical.
Matsumoto Koji no Sekaikan
Opening hours: 10:00-19:30 (or until there’s nothing left)
Address: Otemachi 1-4-8-101, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
Address in Japanese: コッペパン専門店 松本幸司の世界観 広島市中区大手町1丁目4-8-101