When it comes to Japan, don’t you first think of the beautiful cherry blossoms full of anime? But, sometimes, you must admire the Japanese’s aesthetics and creativity. Today we introduce you to a culinary creation that combines taste and visual enjoyment – Japan’s top 10 most popular desserts.
1. Kasutera
One of Japan’s most famous Western-style desserts, originating in Portugal and later introduced to Japan. Kasutera is rectangular, with a caramel-coloured crust on the top and bottom that looks particularly attractive and a fine, even bubble in the middle section, with a honeyed taste in the mouth. The cake is so dense that you can’t stop eating it.
2. Raindrop Pancake
When I first heard the name, I thought it sounded too good to be accurate, but when I saw the real thing, I sighed again: it was too good to be true! Although it’s called a “cake”, it’s more of a jelly. The dessert has a crystal clear appearance, just like a drop of water, so it is a “high value” dessert. The garnish is not limited to salted cherry blossoms, but there are often a variety of flavours to choose from, and they all taste good too.
3. Mitarashi Dango
Anyone who has watched Japanese anime will have seen a string of pink, white and green dumplings, and they are called Mitarashi Dango. They are sold in convenience stores in Japan, which is a testament to how much they love them. They are made of glutinous rice and have a texture like Chinese dumplings but without the filling. Instead, they are usually served with a drizzle of sugar syrup or dipped in soy flour, or you can choose to eat them plain to get a better taste of their flavour.
4. Daifuku
Made from the same glutinous rice as the Mitarashi Dango, the main difference is that the Daifuku has a filling. The most common and most popular is the strawberry Daifuku. The strawberries are covered in chocolate sauce and wrapped in a glutinous rice crust, and a strawberry Daifuku is ready. One bite has the softness of glutinous rice and the moistness of strawberries, while the fruitiness and sweet and sour taste of strawberries neutralise the sweetness, making it lovely but not too sweet. Depending on the filling, there are also red bean Daifuku and mango Daifuku.
5. Wagashi
Just look at their desserts, and you will see how much the Japanese love the soft texture of sticky rice. Eighty per cent of all Japanese desserts are made with glutinous rice, and wagashi is an exquisite and delicate dessert made from glutinous rice. In layman’s terms, it is a filling made from small beans or other foods added to the rice cake.
6. Dorayaki
Many of you are familiar with “Dorayaki” – Doraemon’s favourite food! Also known as golden cakes, they are usually filled with red bean paste, similar to Chinese bean paste cakes, but since some people don’t like red bean paste, they are now available in new flavours such as green bean, strawberry and blueberry.
7. Taiyakii
Taiyaki is also one of the most famous Japanese desserts in anime. It is similar to Dorayaki, except that it is grilled and has a more ‘interesting’ appearance than snapper. The freshly Taiyaki tastes crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and gives off the fragrance of red beans.
8. Warabi Mochi
Warabi Mochi is a Japanese confection made from starch, water and sugar. It has a cold and chewy texture and is not too sweet, making it a great summer dessert. Eaten in the same way as okonomiyaki, they can be served with soybean flour or drizzled with black sugar syrup, or both if you like it sweeter. Matcha lovers can also use matcha powder instead of soybean powder.
9. Yokan
Originating in China, Yokan was introduced to Japan and developed into a traditional local snack. The original Yokan was a soup made from lamb and frozen to accompany a meal, but since Japanese monks did not eat meat, they made a Japanese-style yoghurt with red beans, kudzu flour and flour, which is what it is today.
10. Senbei
Also known as “Japanese pancakes”, they are a type of Japanese rice cracker that comes in various sweet and savoury flavours. They come in multiple shapes and sizes and are often served with green tea as a casual snack and are the most common choice for Japanese families to entertain their guests. They have a crunchy texture and are wrapped in a piece of seaweed for a golden hue that makes your mouth water.