Cream Pan's Salmon Onigiri - Tustin
We all know that Cream Pan makes the best strawberry croissant Orange County has ever seen. But the bakery does amazing things with its savory items too.
Among others, they've got crustless sandwiches using pristinely white, Wonder Bread-like loaves of their own making; weird but delicious dinner rolls stuffed with yakisoba noodles; and ham and cheese folded inside the buttery creases of their crisp croissants. The latter is perfect for breakfast with a scalding cup of strong black tea.
But I contend that the best savory thing Cream Pan makes requires no baking and no flour. It instead relies on the staple starch of Asia: rice.
It's called onigiri, and it is what a sandwich would look like if you made it out of Asia's most important crop. Most Japanese-to-English translations define onigiri as a rice ball; but that's slightly inaccurate as most are triangular, not spherical.
And also, there's almost always nori involved. The nori's utility is twofold. It adds a fishy, fresh-from-the-sea flavor, while also giving the eater a place to grip without getting sticky rice fingers.
You can find onigiri almost anywhere bento boxes are sold. Mitsuwa Market sells it in their fridge at the back of the store. But if you get the salmon onigiri there, you'd need to squint to find the small marble-sized chunk of fish they embed in the center. Rice comprises most of its volume. Each nibble taken makes you wonder, "How many bites does it take to get to the salmon center of Mitsuwa's salmon onigiri?"
But Cream Pan? They do one better -- they mix the salmon meat into the rice before sculpting. The result? Salmon and rice in every bite -- every mouthful a perfectly proportioned ratio of the two ingredients. The first chomp is as wonderful as the last.
Of course, if you don't want to plunk down the $2 for the treat, onigiri is one of the few Cream Pan items a home-cook can easily duplicate in their own kitchen (I've tried making their strawberry croissant myself and concluded it's cheaper to buy it).
The ingredients and method to assembly is as simple as this: mix rice and cooked salmon, form triangle.
But in case, you need more specifics, I have included a video instructional on how to make different styles of onigiri courtesy of my favorite YouTube cooking show: Cooking with Dog.
And if a dog can do it...
600 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780
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