Japanese cheesecake face-off: Uncle Tetsu vs Uncle Miki

Uncle Tetsu cheesecake has a fine texture. – Pictures by Lee Khang Yi
Uncle Tetsu cheesecake has a fine texture. – Pictures by Lee Khang Yi

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Trends often come full circle and in the case of fluffy soft Japanese-style cheesecakes, it did with the recent opening of Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake.

In 1995, when this type of cheesecake was first introduced here there were long queues for the light and less sweet confection.

Since Uncle Tetsu opened in Klang and 1 Utama Shopping Centre, you see the same scene repeating itself with people queueing up to grab the freshly-baked cheesecakes straight from the oven.

Unlike the ultra-rich and dense American cheesecake, Japanese-style cheesecakes have a light and cottony soft texture. It also tastes less sweet.

According to Wisegeek, this is achieved by folding meringue or beaten egg whites into the mixture to lighten up the cream cheese mixture and to make it resemble a fluffy sponge cake. Corn starch and fine cake flour is also added to give it a fine texture.

Back in March 1995, Miki Ojisan No Mise or what is popularly known as “Uncle Miki”, a Japanese franchise, opened its first outlet in Singapore's Paragon Mall. The response was phenomenal as customers would queue for hours to get their hands on a freshly-baked cheesecake.

Grab a box of cheesecake at Miki Ojisan No Mise
Grab a box of cheesecake at Miki Ojisan No Mise

​The franchise was started by Mikihiro Kamiya from Fukui, Japan. Later the craze spread to Malaysia and Indonesia. To date, there are two Uncle Miki outlets in Isetan Suria KLCC and Bangsar Village.

Nowadays, you can easily grab a box of cheesecake at both outlets.

With the opening of Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake, there's a revival for this kind of fluffy soft cheesecake. Originating from Fukuoka, Japan, the franchise of more than 20 years has more than 100 stores all over Asia.

Customers in Taiwan, Manila, Thailand, China and Singapore often wait in long queues for the cheesecake. All the baking is done on-site, as seen in the open kitchen at the 1 Utama Shopping Centre outlet.

Uncle Miki's cheesecake has a crusty golden top with a sponge cake like texture
Uncle Miki's cheesecake has a crusty golden top with a sponge cake like texture

You order and pay for your cheesecake; these are baked in batches of 12. The wait can range from 30-60 minutes, depending on orders.

During your wait, sneak a peek at the kitchen where you can see the bakers preparing the cheesecake batter from cream cheese, egg, milk, butter, sugar and flour. While most of the ingredients are Japanese, the dairy products are sourced from Australia.

Selection of cakes at Miki Ojisan No Mise
Selection of cakes at Miki Ojisan No Mise

In terms of size, the Uncle Tetsu cheesecake is smaller with a diameter of 16cm for RM19.90 while the Uncle Miki cheesecake is slightly bigger at 18cm diameter for RM20.

The Uncle Miki cheesecake has a crustier golden top while the Uncle Tetsu cheesecake has a light golden colour. Both cheesecakes sport similar embossed logos with a cartoon bakery chef holding the cheesecake.

Bite into a slice of freshly-baked Uncle Miki cheesecake and you will get distinct cheese and butter aromas. The cheesecake resembles a sponge cake with a light airy texture and a crusty top.

At the back is Uncle Tetsu cheesecake, while the front is the slightly larger Miki Ojisan No Mise cheesecake (left). Uncle Tetsu's cheese zuccotto resemble hats with a light souffle texture (right)
At the back is Uncle Tetsu cheesecake, while the front is the slightly larger Miki Ojisan No Mise cheesecake (left). Uncle Tetsu's cheese zuccotto resemble hats with a light souffle texture (right)

In contrast, the freshly-baked Uncle Tetsu cheesecake has a lighter and fluffier texture similar to a mousse cake. It's also more moist compared to the Uncle Miki cheesecake. However, it's creamy with a very light cheese aroma.

It's easy to see how one can finish an Uncle Tetsu cheesecake, since it's so light. Both the cheesecakes have a shelf life of three days in the refrigerator due to the lack of preservatives.

As both cheesecakes are kept chilled, the texture tends to harden a little. The taste of cheese for the Uncle Tetsu cheesecake deepens after a few days but it still remains moist and fluffy.

Being in the business for many years, Uncle Miki has diversified its offerings to be a full fledged bakery. They offer a wide range of flavours for the cheesecake; lemon, mango, strawberry, red cherries, matcha and the list goes on.

During the day, there will be people waiting for their cheesecake at Uncle Tetsu
During the day, there will be people waiting for their cheesecake at Uncle Tetsu

These cakes are also iced and ready for celebrations, like their animal shaped cheesecake. In addition, Uncle Miki also offers other cakes, such as Black Forest, American chocolate, brownie, macarons and Swiss rolls. They also sell apple pies, meringues, cookies and a Japanese favourite, the dorayaki or pancakes.

Currently, Uncle Tetsu offers two other choices: cheese zuccotto and cheesecake sticks (temporarily not available for now). The cheese zuccotto is prepped ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator.

The zuccoto comes in 8cm dome shapes that resemble hats, hence its nickname. It comes in three flavours: the original cream cheese mixed with Parmesan cheese, dark chocolate and strawberry.

They also have cute nicknames, like angel hat for the original, devil hat for the dark chocolate and Cupid hat for the strawberry flavour. If you can't wait for a freshly-baked cheesecake, opt for the cheese zuccoto with its addictive chilled rich frothy souffle-like texture that is even fluffier than the baked cheesecake.

Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake has an open kitchen for you to see how they prepare the cheesecakes
Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake has an open kitchen for you to see how they prepare the cheesecakes

Miki Ojisan No Mise, G11A, Ground Floor, Bangsar Village 1, Bangsar Baru, KL. Tel :03-22876288; Concourse Floor, Isetan Suria KLCC, Tel: 03-23820138

Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake, Lot LGK-2A, (Highstreet – New Wing), 1 Utama Shopping Center, PJ ; 19-0, Lorong Batu Nilam 3B, Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang. Tel: 03-38850562 https://www.facebook.com/uncletetsumalaysia

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