The raindrop cake at Yamagoya

I’m a street food fan and I’m always curious about street food trends from other countries, knowing that eventually they will probably work their way over to London. One that’s taken a while is the raindrop cake. I read articles and saw photos of it ages and ages ago being served up at a stall somewhere in New York and people were queuing for ages to buy and Instagram the little raindrop-like droplets.

Well, it’s finally arrived in London. Now there’s a little dispute as to who brought it here first, with both Japanese restaurant Sakagura and pop-up Japanese restaurant Yamagoya (on the first floor of Chinese hot pot restaurant Shuang Shuang) making that claim. Sakagura felt more like somewhere to go with someone and Yamagoya more casual. They make 20 raindrop cakes a day, I knew that my recent week off was the ideal time to pop along at lunch and try the Instagram novelty for myself.

The menu is primarily centred around ramen and curry dishes with a few small bites. I decided to order a portion of chicken kara-age. Juicy pieces of deep fried chicken thigh served with a yuzu mayonnaise, really good, although any hint of yuzu in the mayonnaise was very faint.

After enjoying the light yuzu ramen at Afuri Ebisu in Tokyo, I thought I’d try the yuzu ramen at Yamagoya. In a heavier and greener broth, the egg was perfect and pork good, although I struggled to get through the whole thing. I also struggled to not get it all down my front. For a girl who tends to wear black even in the height of summer, for once I was wearing a pale striped t-shirt. Big mistake. I can’t even blame the ramen because seemingly everyone else in the place was wearing white and keeping it pristine. Even worse was my attempt to remedy it with their red (not colour-safe) napkins. Mistake.

The reason I was there though was to try the raindrop cake, a raindrop-esque blob of jiggly silliness.

It comes presented on a board with molasses syrup and roasted soybean powder together with a two-tined fork and a spoon to dissect it with (or poke it with to make it jiggle):

So what did it taste like? Well, not like much to be honest, and I wouldn’t expect it to as the raindrop is just made of water and agar to set it (there’s no gelatine so veggie friendly!). Adding the molasses and powder was what gave it taste but it’s otherwise a water jelly. Odd. Definitely a novelty, not something to savour, something to play with though!

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  • The chicken karage looks super delicious! I am always a little unsure where I sit in terms of the food crazes / trends these days. On one hand, it is awesome that you are able to taste something that is trendy from another country without actually travelling there. On the other hand, it feels that someone has a good idea and then there is replication / people just copying.

    But glad you got to try the raindrop cake!

    nat // dignifiable

  • I am so intrigued by the raindrop cake! Although if there are only 20 available per day then it may be quite hard to actually get my hands on one when I’m in London next week… x

  • Ah man, I definitely get you with the must-wear-black-to-avoid-ruining-all-my-clothes thing. I mistakenly wore a pale grey top whilst eating gelato the other day. Yeah… the raindrop cake sounds so strange! I can’t quite get my head around it being a “cake” without it being spongey?? xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua