I’m a sucker for cute, Japanese-dessert places, even if they’re not located in Japan—case in point, Croquant Chou ZakuZaku (棒棒泡芙 / bang bang pao fu) located in the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall in Taichung.

I was recently wandering around the mall when I stumbled upon this curiosity.

It looked like a thick, cream-filled churro with crunchy bits on it. Seeing the “zaku zaku” in katakana, I was sold!

My partner and I got one to share. It came in this cute wrapper which had instructions about why “Croquant Chou ZakuZaku is so fresh.”

Here is the actual snack.

The outside of the stick tasted like caramel crumbles. I didn’t taste anything resembling a churro—which was my initial guess. If anything the dessert tasted more like a crunchier cream puff. The name of the location, bang bang pao fu (bang bang meaning stick and pao fu meaning cream puff), suggests that I was pretty close. Still, it was pretty good balancing the right amount of crunch and sweetness.

Note: upon more research, it looks like the English name (or rather French name) is probably closer to crunchy cabbage zaku zaku (with cabbage being a term of endearment). Even more distilled, the name seems to translate to cute crunchy zaku zaku. As zaku zaku is the sound of stabbing in Japanese, I’m not sure what’s going on here, haha.

As with any baked good, it probably tastes better the fresher it is. When we got it, the shop was nearing closing time. Next time I’m around, I’d love to try some of their other offerings!

棒棒泡芙 (Croquant Chou ZakuZaku)