Kawaii! Steamed Buns! Everything You Need To Know About Great British Bake Off’s Japanese Week

...plus, did Paul Hollywood pick the theme?

Great British Bake Off Japanese Week

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

Japanese steamed buns! Mochi! Taiyaki! There are loads of delicious desserts and baked goods from Japan.

So, when it comes to asking why it's Japanese week on Great British Bake Off this week, it's a question that comes with no shade from us on the deliciousness of Japanese desserts and the food we might encounter.

I guess, it's more people are wondering why everything's so... extra? this year when it comes to the challenges. Especially the showstoppers... We're only in week six and we miss seeing the bakers excel at some of the simpler recipes that we can adapt and try at home.

Ok, maybe you regularly make caged tarts? Love a large decorative bread plaque in the style of a traditional Harvest Festival Sheaf representing the one thing you're most grateful for? A cake bust? If so, ignore us.

Anyway, this week though there's no expectation that we'll get anything that's been seen before in the Bake Off tent (again perhaps no bad thing) as we head to Japan for the very first Japanese week.

Paul Hollywood's Japan show...

So, why Japan? Well - many Twitter users have been speculating it's because earlier this year, judge Paul Hollywood released a TV series where her travelled to Japan.

Paul Hollywood Eats Japan aired in April and May and is still all available to watch on All4. The show description says: 'Paul Hollywood goes on a culinary and cultural road trip across Japan, exploring the extraordinary country through its food and unique eating experiences.'

He's not the only fan though. On her website, Prue Leith wrote a lengthy postabout her love of her recent trip to Japan and all the amazing Japanese food she ate there.

The Challenges: Japanese Steamed Buns and Kawaii

In tonight's show, the signature challenge will see bakers put their own spin on Asian steamed buns. The technical challenge will involve 'a recipe involving multiple layers'.

And the showstopper will have a kawaii theme. Kawaii means 'cute' and is a huge part of the Japanese culture.

What does Kawaii mean?

According to wikipedia, Kawaii, 'Is the culture of cuteness in Japan. It can refer to items, humans and nonhumans that are charming, vulnerable, shy, and childlike. Examples include cute handwriting, certain genres of manga, and characters like Hello Kitty and Pikachu.

'The cuteness culture, or kawaii aesthetic, has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, and mannerisms.'

So Kawaii cakes are just cute/adorable cakes... there's a whole book on them if you want to maybe make some more...


Kawaii cakes

Kawaii Cakes1 of 1

Kawaii Cakes, Juliet Sear

Kawaii is a big influence on fashion too - as this articledemonstrates.

As photographer Thomas Card says in the piece, 'Kawaii means cute – but it has the connotations of being cool and awesome. In the West, cute is associated with something being sexy and hot, whereas there it is cooler.'

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