Perfectly fried tempura. Ramen with intricate tonkatsu broth. Soba noodles with a hundred years’ history. There are plenty of foods Japan has become famous for, but a porridge-like cereal was never one of them—until French chef Thomas Angerer started serving his bar-raising version at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
Like exceptional sushi in subway stations and kawaii pastries that smile back, the muesli at the Park Hyatt Tokyo has become somewhat of a fable to in-the-know travelers heading overseas. It began when Claire Mazur, founder of the designer-focused shopping platform Of A Kind, spread the word to New Yorkers upon her return from the city last spring. Well, more like preached. In Of A Kind newsletters, on their website, on social media — everywhere a stylish follower turned, there was a mention of this beloved breakfast food.
Upon following in her travel footsteps this past May, I discovered something else, too. The muesli had in no way been overhyped. Served via room service and at Girandole restaurant, where a large oft-empty bowl is included with their breakfast buffet, it sits like a berry-specked pot of gold, a secret you’d only know about if you were tipped off to find it.
It was one of the first things I was determined to eat upon landing in Tokyo, and it was unnervingly good. Sweet, creamy and rich with the consistency of a chunky cookie dough batter, it put the rest of the world’s mushy cereals to shame. How had no oatmeal, no porridge, no artisanal grain lived up to this until now?
Dying to recreate this breakfast magic back home, I tracked down chef Thomas Angerer, who shared his personal recipe with Travel + Leisure. Whether it’s the addition of mixed juices or plentiful seeds that make it so special, it’s hard to tell. Angerer encourages experimenting by adding local produce, seasonal fruit, or special honey, but even if you’re behind on hitting the greenmarket, the concoction will still be remarkable.
Thomas Angerer’s Bircher Muesli
6 cups rolled oats
1 ¼ cups combined walnuts and sunflower seeds
3 tbsp. raisins
3 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
6 cups whole or 2% milk
100ml orange juice
100ml grapefruit juice
100ml lemon juice
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
2 sliced bananas, for garnish
Seasonal berries, for garnish
1. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and honey; stir well.
2. Add the oats, walnuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds to the bowl; stir well to combine.
3. Refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, add the grated apple to the oat mixture and mix well. Serve the muesli garnished with sliced bananas and seasonal berries.
More good reads from T+L:
• Five Mildly Insane Food and Drink Experiences You Can Only Have in Tokyo
• Eat Like a Local in Japan
• World's Best Awards 2015