The fifth and final part of “Things I Ate in Japan” is about all things sweet. Before I went to Japan, I had no expectations when it came to sweet treats and desserts. I was pleasantly surprised though! Some of the things we liked best included sakura mochi (described in part 3) and taiyaki (a fish-shaped waffle filled with custard), but since we somehow failed to take pictures of them, I will quickly describe some of the other sugary delicacies we encountered during our trip.
The above cake was our dessert at the little café in Omori. This delicious sakura (cherry blossom) cake was made with pistachios and salted cherry blossom petals. It was served with a generous dollop of cream and a salted cherry blossom flower. The cake was a little dry, so the cream was a perfect addition and the crunchy nuts and salty sakura created a perfect harmony of taste and texture. This is also probably the first time I’ve ever eaten cake with a pair of chopsticks. People should do it more often, it’s really quite elegant.
After a long train journey, we arrived in Kurashiki where we treated ourselves to some ice cream. I had soy & black sesame ice cream, while Pim opted for something blue (an ode to the city’s reputation as a traditional denim producer) and indefinable: possibly blueberries, possibly some obscure chemical. Ignorance is bliss.
In a huge mall in Okayama we ate some surprisingly tasty French toast with honey, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. Not particularly Japanese at all, but it still deserves a mention for being so tasty.
This huge citrus fruit (not sure what it is, but it was similar to a very large grapefruit) was a gift given to us by a Buddhist abbot who grew all his own produce on the grounds of his temple in Kyoto. It wasn’t the tastiest fruit, but ingesting some Zen wisdom always sounds like a good idea to me.
These little sweet potato cakes were my absolute favourites. Basically a thin plain cake casing stuffed with sugary mashed sweet potato, these little things were extremely satisfying and addictive. While the ones in the photo come in the shape of adorable little sweet potato men, the ones I found in supermarkets usually looked like faceless dumplings.
We bought this beautiful little moon cake in Chinatown, Yokohama. It was filled with sweetened chestnut puree, which is similar to sweet potato in many ways and almost as delicious. Almost…