The Cutest Foods in the Country
The Japanese culture of cuteness (kawaii) is becoming a phenomenon worldwide. It’s even made it into the food realm — if you look closely enough you can find adorable foods just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorites.
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Creamart at Sweet Moment, NYC
At this sweet little dessert spot, there are plenty of chances to indulge in waffles, bingsoo (shaved-ice desserts) and over-the-top ice cream drinks. But the cutest of them all comes in the form of the colorful drink called the Creamart. It’s a cold drink that’s made with a base of either milk tea or cold-brew (your choice) and flavors like chocolate, matcha and red velvet. The talented staff then draws adorable designs and faces on the drink’s surface with cream, for added cuteness (and a snappable moment!).
Snoopy Buns at Harumama Noodles and Buns, San Diego
Harumama serves up traditional Japanese fare — such as ramen, bao buns and bowls — with a side order of kawaii. For that Insta factor, add a few of their delectable character buns to the table, like Snoopy with a sweet red bean filling or Pooh bear with a sweet egg custard. Savory selections include a pig bun filled with pork and caramelized onions, and a chicken bun filled with mozzarella and caramelized onions.
Flamingo Doughnuts at B’s Bakery, Frankfort, Kentucky
Doughnuts are delectable no matter how they look, but you may just want to take a picture of these flamingo doughnuts at B's Bakery before indulging. The glazed rounds are covered with pink sprinkles, and then a pink fondant neck and head of a flamingo is attached. It’s almost too cute to eat.
Maneki Kiko Cocktail at Lineage, Maui, Hawaii
Top Chef alumnus Sheldon Simeon serves up a bit of his heritage in a restaurant where Hawaiian meets Filipino food. Munch on dim sum from the mobile carts and wash it down with a drink. An edible version of the maneki kiko (the good luck cat) is delicately placed on a cocktail of the same name made with vodka, almond spice liqueur, jackfruit shrub, sour orange, ginger and egg white.
Pac-Man Dumplings at RedFarm, New York City
This modern Chinese food spot dishes out some delicious menu items with creative spins on fried rice, like BBQ duck and ginger, bacon and egg, shrimp and scallop. But don’t miss out on the real fun with their variety of dumplings, especially the Pac-Man shrimp dumplings. The plating makes it look like a scene out of the video game with Pac-Man as a tempura sweet potato slice and the ghosts as pastel-colored shrimp dumplings ready to be chomped up quickly.
Mousse Bear at A la Mousse, Philadelphia
This Philly bakery serves up traditional pastries with a little Japanese flair. A popular pick? Their mousse cakes that aren’t only delicious on the inside but also look like adorable little animals. Pick from choices like the cuddly brown bear, squishable piggie or bright duck. The brown bear has a creamy orange center with a hazelnut feuilletine and chocolate mousse.
Pineapple Passion Fruit Tart at Dominique Ansel Bakery, Los Angeles
Everything Dominique Ansel creates has a certain level of whimsy, even if it’s a piece that requires intricate detail. For example, his California bakery is home to a pineapple passion-fruit tart that looks like a mini pineapple. It’s made with homemade pineapple compote, lime mousse and passion fruit ganache that’s sandwiched between layers of pate sablée and topped with green leaves fashioned from white chocolate.
Animal Cream Puffs at Suzuya Patisserie, Las Vegas
This family-owned Japanese patisserie makes pastries fresh daily. While most are beautifully designed, it’s hard not to be partial to the famous cream puffs —in flavors like green tea, vanilla custard, chocolate or strawberry cream — that are occasionally dressed up like cute little animals. The holiday reindeer dons some pretzel stick ears, the Easter bunnies sport chocolate ears, and both have giant edible googly eyes.
Porcini Pavlova at The Dining Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
It's only natural that a meal at the Met would be a work of art. Indulge in beautifully plated Michelin-worthy fare from the menu curated by Chef John Fraser that takes you through a study of mushrooms. It concludes with a porcini pavlova, in which the meringue cake is formed like a porcini mushroom, is filled with vanilla cream, and sits atop a "forest floor" of chocolate pudding and cocoa crumbs.
Macarons at Bunjour Bakery, Laguna Hills, California
This farmers market bakery takes the macaron concept to new heights. Still using the difficult technique of creating the French cookie, the bakers take creative liberties with the flavors — like Matcha Oreo, Butterbeer or Cookie Dough — and the designs, with fabulous themes such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Spider-Man.
Strawberry in Dirt at Park Avenue, New York City
This very seasonal spot, where the menus and decor shift seasonally, pays homage to the bounty of produce found at each time of year. The summer menu contains a playful dessert that looks like a strawberry growing out of the soil (there was a similar carrot dessert for spring): a strawberry chocolate mousse with a pistachio creme brulee filling, served on a bed of chocolate panko "dirt."
Spaghetti Sundae at Vivoli Il Gelato, Orlando, Florida
This gelato sundae at Vivoli may not taste savory, but it certainly looks like a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. Crema gelato is shredded like pasta before being topped with strawberry chips and "parm" made out of white chocolate chips. Scoops of hearty chocolate gelato "meatballs" adorn the plate.
Emochi at Sushi-San, Chicago
The artwork for these adorable emoji mochi (aka emochi) is all sugar-sketched by hand by Sushi-San’s in-house illustrator before it’s put onto the mochi. There are over 25 rotating flavors of these almost-too-cute-to-eat ice cream treats, like Lychee Colada, Thai Basil and Azuki Red Bean.
Pig Buns at The Bakery at Fat Rice, Chicago
Don’t let the cute pig-face exterior fool you; these sweet and savory pastries are serious business. Filled with housemade linguica sausage and mozzarella and encased in a sweet dough, these make the perfect treat any time of day. While you’re at it, grab one of Fat Rice's famous pasteles de nata (egg tarts), too.
Havana Honey Bear at Sunday in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York
There are few things cuter than the familiar bear-shaped honey container, especially when it’s used as a vessel for a cocktail. At this neighborhood spot they fill the bear with a delicious combination of Amaro Montenegro, amontillado sherry, pineapple, lime and some cumin honey. You can shake it up and pour it over ice or drink it straight from the bottle...or bear.
The Charizard at PV Donuts, Providence, Rhode Island
Pokémon fans will find a special treat here: an edible version of one of the favorite trading cards. Named after one of the characters, Charizard, this doughnut is just as fiery as its namesake. The brioche doughnut is stuffed with a hot Cheetos mousse, glazed in buttermilk, and topped with some more hot Cheetos and an edible replica of a Pokémon trading card.
Three Little Pigs from Fine & Dandy, Jackson, Mississippi
This Southern spot turns out some seriously good food without taking itself too seriously — just check out the Dad Bod Tater Tots or the Schmicken Shmiver. On the oh-so-adorable side is the Three Little Pigs, three pigs molded from a blend of head cheese, three types of pork, red peas, mirepoix and pickled mustard seed. Each pig rests on a Club cracker with a drizzle of habanero mustard for some kick.