Adventures in Eating & Cooking

Panya! [Overdue]

So a couple of weeks ago… Unnie and I went to check out Panya, which is this Japanese bakery by St. Mark’s Place since we both have a passion for all types of Japanese-style food.

Selection of Panya Delights

Since Unnie and I share an obsession for the exquisite taste of matcha green tea, we were both attracted by the green tea tiramisu. This was very delicious, but purists be warned, this cake’s name is a misnomer. There is not a hint of coffee, lady fingers, or any of the other flavors involved in the traditional Italian pastry. But I loved it! I loved the lightly whipped green tea cream layered over the soft spongey cake. The consistency of the cream was a lot like mousse, and what could be more perfect than a green-tea scented mousse? However, I didn’t like the top layer of gelatin-like material that much because it lacked taste for the most part.

Green Tea Tiramisu

I also ordered a Thai iced tea, curious about what it might be. I was even more enthused when the cashier presented me with this milky orange-colored drink. It was pretty good, resembling a light milk tea laced with some sugar and exotic spices.

Thai Iced Tea

After the tiramisu, we still craved more dessert, so we decided to split a strawberry shortcake. The presentation of this cake was extremely adorable. However, I was honestly unimpressed by its taste. The cream was very soft, light, and whipped but to the point that it was almost tasteless. Wedged in between the layers were bits of strawberries, which were quite a treat. The cake was also extremely soft and spongey. Earlier that day I had brought back the mango cake from Red Ribbon Bakery for my dad’s birthday, and that was probably the best Asian-styled cake yet. Characteristic of Red Ribbon Bakery is the overall taste of lightness, fluffy cake and light cream, all without losing intensely delicious flavoring. Panya’s strawberry shortcake just couldn’t compete.

Strawberry Shortcake

I also got one of their onigiris to go, although I don’t remember if I got the spicy cod roe or the salmon… I think I probably went with the roe, but I don’t remember it being spicy. Well, it was delicious and the seaweed was stuck onto the sticky rice, a very different style from the crispy seaweed wrap Cafe Zaiya uses. I think I may prefer Panya’s style, although I’ve heard that Zaiya’s onigiris are a lot fresher.


I think what impressed me most however, was the pack of green tea cookies I bought. They were the most fantastic green tea cookies I’ve ever had!!! Panya’s green tea cookie is similar to a crunchy buttery shortbread cookie, only mixed with rich matcha flavor. The natural slightly bitter taste of green tea complemented the mild sweetness of the cookie well, which led to the ultimate enjoyment of green tea cookie-ness. Next time I come back, I’ll just buy four more packs of these!

Grade: B+, although the green tea cookies are like A

Conclusion: Loved everything green tea flavored here, but was disappointed by the cake. I’m tempted to try the famous chocolate banana croissant everyone keeps yammering about, or maybe one of the actual bentos/real food.

8 comments on “Panya! [Overdue]

  1. Pingback: Organic matcha in Toronto? | Tea

  2. Lena
    May 17, 2010

    you can never go wrong with green tea, unless the bakery is extremely talented in screwing up. i’ll definitely grab a bag of green tea cookies next time i’m in soho. the octopus ball is pretty good bc i can’t find it anywhere in nyc.


  3. Madame Fromage
    May 20, 2010

    Eileen, that green tea tiramisu is so intriguing, and it looks amazing. I’m curious to try this place next time I’m in NY. You know, I noticed you don’t have a very clear way to add followers to your blog. You might add a gadget along your sidebar? It was so nice to meet you yesterday! Stay in touch.


  4. Nicholas
    May 28, 2010

    Cafe Zaiya’s onigiri are hit or miss depending on the day. I used to go every morning on days I worked in midtown and the rice and nori would change in consistency on a regular basis.

    Weirdly enough, the onigiri sold at Kinokuniya(?) are usually better (crispy seaweed, semi-moist rice). They’re supposed to be from Zaiya, but they’re just more… consistent.


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