know your japanese snacks

Japan is the land of all things delicious. From fresh, world-famous sushis to mouth watering ramen, delectable takoyaki and yes, adorable and flavorful sweets. Today, let’s get to know some of the most popular and must-try Japanese snacks.

Dorayaki

Dorayaki is a delicious snack made by wrapping anko (red bean paste) between two pancakes which are usually made castella sponge cake (another popular Japanese snack). It has a soft fluffy texture and a taste that would give any sweets-loving person a smile.

If you are a fan of the world-famous Anime character Doraemon, you probably already know this as his favorite food.

Senbei

Senbei are Japanese rice crackers. More often, they are salty and spicy but because of their popularity as ‘omiyage’ (souvenirs) for travelers to bring back to their friends and family, different regions in Japan now offer their own twist or variation to this snack – with some having a pleasant sweet taste.

Castella

Castella is a type of sponge cake famous all over Japan and commonly used in Dorayaki. Fun fact, the recipe for this delectable snack was brought to Japan by Portuguese tradres and missionaries around the 15th century and the Japanese named it Castella because it was believed to have originated from ‘Castile’ in Spain.

Taiyaki

This treat is a fish-shaped pastry with a creamy filling. The outer pastry is made from dough and the filling is traditionally anko (sweet red bean paste). These days however, you can eat it with all types of fillings like chocolate, cheese, sweet potato and even ice cream!

Taiyaki comes from the word Tai which is the snapper fish it’s shaped after – a lucky symbol for Japanese buddhists.

Manju

Manju are a traditional Japanese pastry. There are a lot of variations to this snack but usually, it consists of an outer layer made from rice flour and an inner filling of anko. The sweet filling and moist cake covering makes it a perfect pair for green tea.

Dango

Dango are rice dumpling often served in a stick. Though it resembles mochi, Dango is more chewy in texture. Just like the other snacks, it now also comes in many shapes but the most popular is mitarashi dango which are plain, grilled ones glazed with soy sauce.

Daifuku

Daifuku or Daifukumochi are mochi stuffed with a sweet inner filling. The most common variation of this is ichigo daifuku which is a snack people usually enjoy in the springtime and consists of a strawberry wrapped in mochi.

Monaka

Monaka is one popular type of wagashi (traditional Japanese confection). It has two thin wafers with a creamy filling sandwiched between them. The wafers are typically round or square-shaped but in some stores, you can also find them in the most elaborate of shapes – animals, buildings, flowers and others.

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