It’s not quite a croque-monsieur, but the principle is pretty much the same. It’s not quite a nikuman or its Chinese equivalent the siopao [char siu bao / taipao / dabao], but again the principle is very much the same.
This, dear SybDive readers, is a kariman – one such example of modern Japanese street food flogged by MiniStop, a Japanese convenience store franchise that is steadily giving 7-11 a run for its money in this part of the world.
Essentially, a kariman is a cross between a meat bun and a fried sandwich. A meat filling is stuffed into a piece of yeast dough, sealed, dipped in egg wash, rolled in panko, and deep-fried till the outside is golden brown and crunchy to the bite.
Traditionally, the customary filling for kariman would be Japanese-style beef or chicken curry. (Hence the “kari” part of the name; man is short for manju which means bun or dumpling.) There are curry-filled buns available, but most Filipinos prefer the sweet, tomato-ey pizza with slices of pepperoni and cheese, old-school ham and cheese, or even tuna.
My personal preference is for the chicken asado kind – and I usually pair that with a vitamin drink for a quick breakfast. It’s not the healthiest of things, but it does get the motor running in the AM. 🙂