Good Asian Grub: Black Sesame Flan at Masami

My current obsession: black sesame flan

It’s been eleven days, twenty-three hours, and forty-seven minutes since I tasted my first black sesame flan at Masami, a charming Japanese restaurant with traditional touches, and I’ve been going a little bit crazy in the head ever since.

Jump if you’ve never had this before.

To be honest, my dinner at Masami – first a Rainbow roll, seafood tempura, followed by pork tonkatsu – was quite unremarkable until the waiter brought over the Dobin Mushi ($6.50), a soup with miniature pieces of chicken, shrimp, and mushrooms floating inside a small tea pot. It comes with a tea cup about the size of your pinkie toe, which you pour the soup into, leaving bits of meat inside the tea pot for your chopsticks to fish out later. Not only was the presentation beautiful, but the broth was light, clear, and soothing.

But the meal peaked as soon as I finished all the salty courses and sat with the dessert menu in front of me. My eyes skipped all the fried ice cream and bananas, landing on the black sesame flan for $3.50. I’d never seen a sesame flan before. Curiosity won, of course.

Dobin Mushi soup with shrimp, chicken, mushrooms served in a tea pot

The Asian sesame craze has been going on forever. A good four or five years back when my cousin told me about sesame-flavored desserts, I was a little weirded out by the prominence of sesame ice cream, sesame cakes, sesame breads, and sesame bubble teas flooding the Asian continent. It wasn’t until I tried my first spoonful of black sesame paste that I swore this love was forever. And it was.

Flan itself isn’t an overwhelmingly sweet dessert – a fact that I enjoy. And black sesame has this natural nuttiness (similar to peanut butter) that makes it ever-so-slightly salty. When black sesame is combined with flan, it lends a toasty, warm flavor to an otherwise cold (temperature) dessert, which is certainly a nice way to finish a meal.

Masami’s sesame flan struck my taste buds to the core, and they’ve been itching to repeat that same feeling ever since. I’ve been Google-searching the Internet like a sesame-crazed scavenger, trying to find a suitable recipe for a flan that doesn’t seem to exist in the English language. Long-distance friends are even helping me with this hunt via email. Is there anybody out there who can link me to a good recipe? All I’ve found is this one. Once I get my hands on something better, my future plans include: making a sesame flan immediately, eating it immediately after, and then writing a sonnet that begins with, “Oh, how I love thee….”