For us, a trip to Tokyo inevitably means lugging home boxes of cigare (which means ‘cigarette’ in French) snacks — the beautifully packaged, intensely buttery, crunchy and delicious roll-shaped cookies sold by Japanese confectioner Yoku Moku. Think a butter cookie and egg roll, um, rolled into one neat stick. The brand has been around since 1969 and boasts over 150 stores in Japan.
Now we don’t have to fly overseas to get our paws on those elegant Swedish-inspired baked-in-Tokyo treats, ’cos Yoku Moku is opening its first permanent Singapore retail outlet at Ion Orchard next January.
But here’s even better news: it will have two pop-up stores this December at Ion Orchard, and Takashimaya’s Christmas Fair. Yay, just in time for some festive shopping.
Its signature preservative-free cigares are available in three flavours: the original, and to us, best-tasting Cigare ($16 for 10 pieces; $35 for 20), the Darjeeling and Earl Grey tea-infused Cigare Au Thé ($17 for eight pieces; $43 for 20) as well as the milk chocolate Cigare Au Chocolat ($19 for eight pieces; $47 for 18).
Or you can get all three flavours in the Trois Cigare box ($73) with 33 cigares.
The brand is also popular for its delicate cookies available only during the winter season (which is now). Like the Billet Au Chocolat Au Lait ($16 for 12 pieces), slim slivers of butter vanilla cookies coated in milk chocolate, and the almond-topped version called Billet Aux Amandes Chocolat ($31 for 24 pieces).
Other offerings include the Pleine Lune ($31 for 16 pieces), a shortbread cookie with almonds and a milk chocolate base.
Besides retail stores, Yoku Moku also boasts a dine-in eatery called Blue Brick Bistro by Yoku Moku in Hongkong, serving Japanese-Western fare. We’re told a “cafe with a full lunch and dinner menu” is in the works in Singapore and is slated to open in 2019.
The Singapore franchise is brought in by a former co-founder of local F&B company The Big Idea Group, which run restaurants such as Fat Cow and The Marmalade Pantry.
Yoku Moku pop-up stores are at L1 Ion Orchard (Dec 1-31, 10am-10pm) and B2 Takashimaya (Dec 4-25, 10am-9.30pm). Yoku Moku’s permanent Singapore store will be at L3 Ion Orchard, opening Jan 2018. www.yokumoku.com.sg.