5 Snacks to Try in Japan
Most people associate Japanese food with sushi, rice and noodles. But if you go to Japan, you cannot live by these alone. Well, actually, you could, but you would be missing out on some of these great snacks.ÃÂÃÂ If you are going on a trip to Japan, be sure to check out these goodies.
What it is : A fish-shaped pastry, stuffed with red-bean paste
Why itÃÂÃÂs better than it sounds : The batter used is basically the same stuff as pancakes. If you get them fresh, they are warm and gooey, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. Red-bean paste sounds weird, but itÃÂÃÂs sweet and a bit like jam. Taiyaki also comes in cream filled varieties. Available in some store food courts, festivals, and from vendors in the streets.
What it is : Octopus balls
Why itÃÂÃÂs better than it sounds : If youÃÂÃÂve ever had pineapple chicken balls at a Chinese restaurant, you have a pretty good idea of what takoyaki is. Instead of chicken, itÃÂÃÂs octopus. And instead of pineapple sauce, itÃÂÃÂs topped with a brown sauce and something like mayonnaise. It sounds weird, and it is weird, but tasty. Available in store food courts and festivals.
3. Melon Bread
What it is : Not really melon and not really bread.
Why itÃÂÃÂs better than it sounds : ItÃÂÃÂs basically a big cookie. ÃÂÃÂMelonÃÂÃÂ in Japan refers to what most people would call a cantaloupe. This food is called melon bread because it looks like a melon, not because it tastes like one. It consists of a softer dough covered with a thin layer of crisp cookie dough. It comes in chocolate chip, cream-filled, and occasionally, melon flavoured varieties. Available at most convenience stores.
What it is : Rice, shaped into a triangle, wrapped in seaweed.
Why itÃÂÃÂs better than it sounds : Do you like sushi? ThatÃÂÃÂs basically raw fish on rice thatÃÂÃÂs been shaped into a ball. Onigiri uses the same rice and the same seaweed that are commonly used in sushi. The main advantage of the onigiri is that itÃÂÃÂs portable. They come in different flavours : avoid umeboshi (sour plum) and try the salmon ones. Available from convenience stores and housewives all over Japan.
5. Pocky and Pocky derivatives.
What it is : Stick shaped pretzels, dipped in chocolate
Why itÃÂÃÂs better than it sounds : ItÃÂÃÂs dipped in chocolate. The sticks arenÃÂÃÂt quite the same as pretzels, theyÃÂÃÂre a bit softer and a bit sweeter. Comes in nearly infinite variations, replacing regular chocolate with: strawberry, melon, grape, orange, sweet potato, pineapple etc. flavoured glazes. Pocky without coating is sold as Pretz, which also comes in many different flavours. Available at supermarkets and convenience stores