Best Shokupan in Melbourne

Updated July 9th, 2022


Sourdough has been Melbourne’s bread of choice for a while. But that’s changing. These days a number of challengers are nipping at its heels. Focaccia has time-travelled here from the ‘90s and big, flat fougasses are having a bit of a moment, too. But shokupan, the thickly cut pillow-soft Japanese milk bread, might just be the most popular of them all.

Maybe it’s because of Melbourne’s recent love affair with the katsu sando, the blockbuster Japanese sandwich that typically relies on shokupan. Or it could be because, during the pandemic, many of us realised that raising and nurturing a sourdough starter is actually far more difficult than it looks. (By contrast, baking a loaf of shokupan is much more user-friendly.) Or maybe it just has something to do with the fact that shokupan is just like a loaf of classic supermarket white bread – except far better-looking and better-tasting.

Many of Melbourne’s best Japanese cafes now bake their own loaves in-house, and plenty of bakeries are getting in on the shokupan action, too. Here are our favourites.

Related Pages
Best Bakeries in Melbourne
Best Katsu Sandos in Melbourne
Best Japanese Cafes in Melbourne

  • This Japanese-inspired bakery is from the team behind Little Rogue just across the street. It sells whole loaves of shokupan, plus flaky almond-yuzu croissants, Danishes piled high with berries, and soft buns filled with cream cheese, then doused in garlic butter.

  • At this Japanese cafe in a North Melbourne warehouse, almost everything revolves around fluffy, house-baked shokupan (which you can get to take away). You'll also find fried-chicken katsu sandos, teriyaki fries and airy sponge cake. It’s from one of the founders of Bali’s Potato Head Beach Club – and it shares a space with his impressive old-school car collection.

  • During the pandemic, Japanese cafe Haiku (then known as Hibiki) became well-known for its “iso sandos” – weekend-only sandos with different fillings each week. So it’s no wonder shokupan features heavily at Haiku's next-door sibling: the konbini-inspired Haiku Future. Pick it up by the loaf here, and be sure to grab some pocky while you’re at it. The shokupan is baked by Brioche by Phillip exclusively for Haiku.

  • At this vegan-friendly bakery, you can get pillow-soft milk bread by the whole or half loaf, as a classic katsu sando, and more. It’s an extension of cafe Fuumi Fuumi, which has locations in West Melbourne and Port Melbourne.

  • Saint Dreux is dedicated exclusively to sandos, so you know the shokupan it sources has to be good. It’s baked fresh daily and is available for pickup every Saturday. But it sells out often, though, so make sure to pre-order to avoid disappointment.

  • On a street that’s already teeming with excellent Japanese eateries, Hinoki is an essential stop for those who want to recreate their favourite Japanese dishes at home (or takeaway some incredibly good sushi). You’ll find half loaves of the fluffy stuff here, perfect for your legit rendition of the katsu sando.

  • This sprawling Japanese supermarket in the CBD – next door to Hometown Asian Supermarket, which focuses on other Asian cuisines – has shokupan ready to go on its shelves.