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An Encyclopedia Of Japanese Sweets - Wagashi And Snacks

An Encyclopedia Of Japanese Sweets - Wagashi And Snacks

2017.07.11 Bookmark

In this article, we'll introduce various Japanese treats: wagashi sweets, the dagashi beloved by children, the sweets sold at convenience stores, and more.

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by OsawaKimie

Wagashi Sweets Look Amazing and Taste Good, Too

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Wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets made using ancient recipes, are known for their flavors, as well as the delicate appearance.

Originally, these sweets were eaten together with green tea and other Japanese tea varieties during tea ceremonies, and a craftsman crafted each individual piece by hand. For highly formal tea ceremonies, these wagashi lent color to the proceedings, and desirable sweets had to be more than just delicious; they also needed to be art appreciation pieces. No longer just for tea ceremonies, wagashi are now beloved by all generations of people as souvenirs and mid-afternoon snacks.

Also read:

How To Enjoy the Basics Of Tea Ceremony In Japan

What You Should Know About Wagashi: A Japanese Sweets Guide

Wagashi Containing Red Bean Paste: Manju And Dorayaki

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Anko, or red bean paste, is known as the representative ingredient in many wagashi. Manju and dorayaki, two types of standard wagashi containing red bean paste, have long been beloved by Japanese people.

Manju consists of a thin dough made from fine wheat or rice flour. The dough is then wrapped around anko and steamed or baked. On the other hand, dorayaki dough is made from a mixture of wheat flour, sugar and eggs. After baking, the dorayaki dough is wrapped around anko, creating a charmingly soft, thick, pancake-esque treat.

Nerikiri Sweets

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Nerikiri, like anko, is another integral part of wagashi. This fresh wagashi is made by adding Turkish delight - a combination of sugar, starch syrup, and rice flour which is then baked and kneaded - to white bean paste. As in the photo, wagashi artisans use colored nerikiri to create sweets that express the change of the seasons and the beauty of nature.

Senbei Crackers

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Compared to manju, with their appealing softness, senbei crackers - known as examples of dry higashi cookies - have a crisp, crunchy snap to them. In eastern Japan, the senbei variety you will see most often is made from thin rice flour dough. The dough is cut into pieces using a mold, then the pieces are cooked on a fire and basted with soy sauce. These moderately salty crackers go perfectly with a glass of Japanese tea on a hot day in Japan.

Also read:

Japanese Encyclopedia: Senbei (Rice Crackers)
6 Japanese Sweets Found at Ginza
Japanese Encyclopedia: Anko (Red Bean Paste)

What Are Dagashi?

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Dagashi, snacks made from low-cost ingredients like cereals and brown sugar, were first sold in the Showa era and targeted at children. Their simple tastes are appealing, and at dagashi specialty shops and small stores with long histories, you can buy the cheapest ones for as little as 10 yen. In recent years, the warm sense of nostalgia engendered by dagashi has reinvigorated their popularity, and you can even find dagashi bars in some cities, where you can snack on dagashi along with your drink. If you want to discover the taste of these traditional snacks, pick up a dagashi for yourself.

Japanese Convenience Store Sweets

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Convenience stores sell a rich variety of Japanese snacks, from original dessert sweets to easy-to-eat snack pastries. Some particularly popular snacks include green tea-flavored sweets, chocolate pastries, and potato chips which exude more and more savory potato goodness with each successive bite.

The dessert sweets corner contains items like cakes, cream puffs, and eclairs, which boast the same quality you could find at a specialty bakery. When you’re feeling a bit hungry, how about dropping by a convenience store and enjoying an extravagant sweet from the dessert sweets corner?

You May Also Like

9 Souvenir Sweets To Get at Convenience Stores and Supermarkets!

Japanese Encyclopedia: B-kyū Gurume (B Rank Cuisine)

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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