While sushi is probably the most know product from Japan, many other dishes such as Ramen are also already widely known. However, I also like to explore the less know specialties and found the perfect subject to research: Japanese sweets. I ate so many different sweets while I visited Japan and especially since it was Sakura (cherry blossom season) there where also many special treats available. One must also mention the love to detail with which most of them are beautifully decorated and how they look so tempting. What do they taste like though? Here’s a quick overview of my favorite snacks:
- Mochi: a small cake made from sweet rice flour and often filled with pastes such as red bean or mung bean (I think they are called Daifuku though if they are filled). It’s very squishy and soft. It can come in all kinds of shapes and colors such as the one I tried that was white with purple or there is a special Sakura edition that is traditionally pink and wrapped in a salty cherry leaf. They taste very yummy in my opinion (a bit like a sweet sticky rice dessert) and are not too sweet. Shibuya Hikarie has a great selection of these traditional sweets.
- Sakura Mini-Pancake: this was a tiny small pancake that I also got at Shibuya Hikarie. It was colored again (how could it be any different during Sakura) in sweet pink and decorated with a small pink flower and filled with a red bean paste. The pancake tasted a bit like the Mochi but the texture was less soft but also very yummy.
- Fried pumpkin dumpling: This is a snack I bought at a small stall next to the temple in Asakusa. It consists of a sweet puree of pumpkin that is dipped and fried and severed to you warm. It has a crispy outside and is nicely sweet and soft on the inside. I guess this was actually my favorite and I’m really craving one right now. Definitely go check this out if you are at Asakusa Sensō-ji.
Hikarie Shibuya: http://www.hikarie.jp/en/