The Latest Croissant Hybrid Is Here, and It’s Japanese-Influenced

Cronigiri Le Levain

Hot on the (flaky) heels of the cronut and the croissant toastie is the latest food hybrid of a French café staple: the ‘cronigiri’. First spotted in Singapore, it’s recently hit our shores.

The dish is made with flaky French pastry, but shaped with three curved points, like the Japanese onigiri. A decorative and savoury flavour-adding piece of seaweed is wrapped around the bottom. Some cronigiri, also known as ‘oniossant’, have creams in their centre and are topped with a single dollop of it.

The first cronigiri was seen at La Levain Bakery in Singapore in late 2023. The bakery offers a handful of cronigiri options, including Lao Gan Ma, Mentaiko Cheese and Scallion Sour Cream.

The Lao Gan Ma uses Lao chilli crisps and is topped with crispy bacon, while the Mentaiko Cheese is filled with Japanese Mentaiko, which is a spicy cod roe, cream cheese. “This croissant offers an umami-packed bite with a subtle spice, enveloped in our light and airy pastry,” reads La Levain’s website.

Before the dish was served at Le Levain, it was posted about by YouTuber Aston Adiwijaya, reports Delicious. In December 2019, the chef and self-proclaimed “dough whisperer” posted a tuna onigiri croissant he made to Instagram. The dish was filled with tuna roasted-sesame mayo, with its edges coated in black and white sesame.

In Australia, the dish can be found at Sydney’s Tenacious Bakehouse. The owner and head baker of the recently renovated Darlinghurst bakery, Jin Park, says his customers are crazy about new special things. He listens to those giving him feedback on his creations and takes it on board.

“I’m going to keep the menu for a while until we hear from a customer who comes up with a dream,” he says.

The cronigiris’ flavours change regularly. Its most recent flavours were a tuna mayo version, one filled with spicy chicken curry and another with taco wasabi.

Cronigiris are also available at The Whisk Fine Patisserie, a bakery and dessert shops, specialising in cakes and croissants. Its two flavours of cronigiris, spicy tuna and pork floss, are available at its two locations in Brisbane’s CBD and Mount Gravatt.

The bakery tries to mix influences from different cultures into its products, says its owner, Justin Yu. Asian cultures are particularly prevalent in its experimentation, due to the background of the bakery’s head chef.

“Sometimes we spend a lot of time creating different things, but they end up not selling well and we have to take them off the menu sooner than we thought,” says Yu. “Cronigiris are quite popular – probably the most popular after our Nutella croissant wheels.”

Further afield, the cronigiri is also served at Café W in New York City. Eater New York reports it took the café’s team eight weeks to nail the creation. It had to be pliable, but also sturdy enough to hold fillings.

“We spent lots of time to determine the precise number of layers and the optimal thickness of the dough,” Sara Kim, Café W’s manager, told Eater. Each batch of the cronigiris takes the café over 11 hours to make. It sells about 1,600 of the $6.50 USD (roughly $9.85 AUD) each week.

Related: 10 of the Spiciest, Flavour-Packed Indian Restaurants In Sydney

Related: The Best Croissants in Sydney, According to Someone Who Ate Them All (Well, Most)

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