7 Sep 2010, 10:52pm
japanese snacks:
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Dango

I love Japanese desserts, and these are one of my favorites – kushi dango (skewered rice balls). As with all rice-cake desserts, it’s easy to go sweet or savory, and this pair does both. The one on the left is a “mitarashi dango,” drizzled with a glaze made from soy sauce and sugar. The one on the right is your standard “anko” – topped with sweet red bean paste. Both were excellent!

These dango came from my local Japanese grocer – in a pack of four skewers (two per flavor).

Yokan by Toraya

I wrote about Toraya’s mizu yokan last year, which I actually prefer over the regular yokan, but this stuff isn’t too bad either. Toraya is a pretty renown maker of this bean paste confection, so it’s often given as a gift. This one was a double pack: “Yoru no Ume” (plums of the night) and “Haru no Iro” (colors of the spring).

I haven’t opened the Yoru no Ume yet, but according to a review I saw online, it’s not actually plum flavored at all, but regular sweet red bean. I did try the Haru no Iro, however:

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13 Oct 2009, 6:48am
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Green Tea Marshmallows

ocha hime

This cute little package is actually called “Ocha Hime”, which translates to “Princess Tea.” Lol. These are green tea flavored marshmallows filled with sweet bean paste. Matcha green tea and sweet bean is of course, the classic ‘wagashi‘ combination (usually done with rice cake), but I’ve never seen it come together like this before. Genius! It’s like East meets West in the confectionery world. The package claims that they use green tea from Kyoto and red beans from Hokkaido for a lovely harmony of flavor.

A close up view:

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15 Jul 2009, 11:06pm
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Mizu Yokan

mizu package

Yokan is a very traditional Japanese confection made from red bean paste and agar. You usually buy it by the block: narrow, rectangular bricks o’ sweet. They’re heavy like bricks, too! Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wiki:

Due to its relative heaviness and unfamiliarity with this dessert, it has been mistaken as C-4 or similar plastic explosives during baggage checks.

Haha! XD

A little lighter than your usual C4esque yokan is the “mizu” yokan (literally, water yokan), which is best served chilled. It’s not watery like Jello, but it’s definitely not as dense as standard yokan.

Here’s a box of the stuff that arrived from Japan a few days ago, complete with four flavors: ogura (sweet bean paste), matcha (green tea), brown sugar (actually called black sugar in Japanese), and wasanbon sugar (a Japanese-made sugar that’s less sweet than refined sugar). These are made by Toraya, a very famous and excellent yokan maker.

I’ve tasted 3 out of the four – all but the brown sugar. They’re all quite subtle in flavor, and have a nice smooth texture. My favorite is the green tea:

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