Japan is a culinary capital - foodies from far and wide travel to Japan every day just to eat! And yet, no matter how much ramen, curry, sushi or soba you manage to slurp down, there always seems to be room for dessert. Luckily, Japanese desserts are everywhere, and there’s a ton of different traditional desserts to try through your travels in Japan!
Today at TokyoTreat, we’re breaking down our 7 favorite Japanese desserts. Some of these desserts have been around for a long time - can you guess which desert has been around in Japan since 1341? Read on and find out!
You may know dorayaki as Doraemon’s favorite food! Dorayaki is a classic Japanese dessert, made of 2 sweet small pancakes sandwich with sweet red bean filling. However, now, there are many popular filling such as custard cream, chestnuts, and matcha.
Dorayaki is an incredibly popular and delicious dessert enjoyed throughout Japan - you may know it as Doraemon’s favorite food!
Dorayaki is a classic Japanese dessert, traditionally made with sweet red bean paste - or anko - sandwiched between two sweet pancakes. Nowadays, you can find a wide variety of dorayaki fillings, like custard cream, chestnut, and even everyone’s favorite Japanese dessert flavor - matcha!
Soft jelly, refreshing fruit, mochi, chestnuts, ice cream and anko (red bean paste) all soak together in a bath of delicious mitsu - a dark syrup that tastes like honey!
The name of this special summer dessert is an acronym of an (for anko) and mitsu.
Shiruko, sometimes referred to as oshiruko, is a sweet traditional Japanese soup!
Resembling something like a sweet porridge, shiruko is made of adzuki beans (sweet red beans) that are boiled and crushed, then served warm in a bowl and topped off with chewy mochi rice cakes!
Like most Japanese desserts, there’s several varieties to try out. Some of the most popular variations are shiruko with roasted chestnuts, or shiruko with traditional glutinous rice flour dumplings in place of mochi.
Manju was first introduced in Japan all the way back in 1341, when a Japanese envoy returned home from China - bringing back mantou (饅頭) with him!
The characters for mantou are read as “manju” in Japanese. You could say manju is like a sweet bun. In Japan, there’s typically two different types: Baked Manju, and Steamed Manju. Baked manju has a crispy, more pastry-like shell that crunches and crumbles as you eat it. Steamed manju is much more fluffy and pillow-like in texture. Which would you prefer?
The most common manju fillings are anko (red bean paste), chestnut paste, sesame paste, matcha flavored bean paste, or sweet miso paste.
Daifukumochi, or Daifuku, is a traditional Japanese dessert that many foreigners may be
more familiar with it. Daifuku is a small, round mochi rice cake filled with a variety of sweet fillings - most commonly anko red bean paste. Usually, daifuku is served up bite-sized, but more recently ichigo daifuku, or strawberry daifuku is becoming more popular, and larger in size!
Strawberry mochi is so popular in Japan that there’s even a strawberry mochi flavored Kitkat! We featured it in our February box!
If you missed out, don’t worry - you can grab a bag right here on JapanHaul and try them out for yourself!
Kasutera is a sponge cake that gets its name from the Japanese pronunciation of “castella”. Kasutera was originally developed in Japan based on popular cakes and baked goods imported from Portugal called Pão de Castela - or “Bread From Castile”.
Nagasaki is famous for the creation of Kasutera is traditionally made from sugar, flour, eggs, and a starchy syrup. Today, it’s common to find kasutera in many variations such as chocolate, matcha, brown sugar and honey flavors.
Dango is sort of like dessert Yakitori! Although Dango and mochi rice cakes look similar, the two of them are actually made much differently from each other.
The key difference between mochi and dango is that while mochi is made from cooked and pounded rice, dango is made from milled rice flour called mochiko.
Dango is most often seen served up on a stick as street food, but you can also find more fancy dango served in a bowl with various other desserts. Dango is also commonly served alongside a cup of matcha green tea.
Mitarashi dango is the most popular variety of dango in all of Japan. These dango are coated in a soy-based sauce, or tare, that is both salty and sweet at the same time! The dango itself is often grilled before being coated, giving it that Yakitori feeling.
Have you had the chance to try any of these traditional Japanese desserts? Which one is your favorite? Or, if you haven’t yet, which one do you want to try the most? The TokyoTreat crew can’t decide, we love them all too much!