So, it is finally upon us, the spring season. Some may call it the season of love and others just enjoy that the weather is becoming gradually warmer. But you know what else a new season means? New snacks! In Japan, certain snacks or okashi become ripe for the taste buds once that season arrives. Here are some of the more interesting (and delicious) snacks that will definitely get those salivary glands going!
1. Ume (Plums)
Ume blossoms, or plum blossoms are the first signs of spring in Japan, and once spring hits, you’ll be able to see plum-flavored treats all over the place! Although plum related snacks like umeboshi and umeshu are available year round, there are always some special limited time plum related snacks that are released during the spring season. It is always a great treat to eat wherever you are! Moreover, for those party lovers, umeboshi is great to cure hangovers as well!
2. Sakura Mochi
Since spring represents the season that sakura trees blossom, there are bound to be many interesting sakura themed snacks! Sakura mochi is a mochi treat stuffed with red-bean paste and wrapped with a sakura leaf. It is one of the most easily recognizable wagashi that can be found anywhere! Although mostly eaten during Hinamatsuri (Girls Day) on March 3rd, it is an extremely popular treat during the spring season, and would be great for picnics.
Takenoko is essentially bamboo shoots. While some people may not be able to withstand the bitter taste and fear the toxins involved, fear not, these takenoko are boiled to the point where the toxin is completely dispelled and cooked soon after to remove the bitter taste. Takenoko is also not the entire bamboo tree, it is just the root and eaten during the sprout phase - often between March and May.
4. Ichigo Daifuku
One of my personal favorites, the ichigo daifuku. This treat is a mochi-like snack, with a mochi outer coating, red-bean paste filling, and a whole strawberry right in the middle. One of the most popular snacks, it is eaten often during the winter and springs seasons. The stickiness of the mochi mixed with the sweetness of the red-bean paste and strawberry really makes this treat unique!
5. Hanami Dango
Hanami Dangos are a type of rice balls on a skewer that you would typically find during springtime. The differentiating traits of Hanami Dangos compared to your typical dango are the colors. The Hanami Dangos have 3 different colors; white, pink and green. These colors represent 3 seasons; winter, spring and summer. White symbolizes the snow during winter, pink for the color of the sakura flowers that bloom, and green for the grass that grows during summer. These dangos are extremely delicious and make for a great afternoon snack!
Have you tried any of these treats above? Let us know how they were in the comments below!