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Japanese Sweets: Confectionary or art? Or both?


Japanese Sweets : Confectionary or art? Or both?

Japan has a great variety of sweets. Here are just a few that might excite those of you with a sweet tooth!

Contents

1, Wagashi or Yougashi?

2, Taiyaki “Which part do you eat first?”

3, What is Kougei-gashi?

4, Summary

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Wagashi or Yougashi?

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Wagashi are Japanese confectioneries that are often served with tea. They are made with traditional methods and ingredients, such as Azuki beans.

Yougashi, which are western style sweets, were introduced to Japan during the Meiji era in the 19th century.

There are also some sweets called “nanbann gashi” which came from Portugal in the 16th century, and many Japanese confuse “nanbann gashi” and Yougashi.

The most distinctive wagashi is dango. They are small rounded mochi (or rice cakes), commonly eaten off a bamboo skewer. Most Japanese sweets use mochi. Even though Dango is called a sweet, it is not always actually sweet, but is sometimes eaten with soy sauce and sugar.

Another Japanese sweet is daifuku, which is anko wrapped in mochi. Anko is made from Azuki beans boiled down with sugar and water. Anko that retains the texture of the beans is called tsubu-an. Smooth, strained anko is called koshi-an. Many Japanese people would say that, “if it uses anko, then it is a Japanese sweet.”

There are so many kinds or styles of wagashi in Japan, but these are common sweets that you can find in any supermarkets.

 

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Taiyaki  “Which part do you eat first?”

Taiyaki is a very popular sweet, made from dough that is baked in a metal mold in the shape of a fish, with anko inside. Because it looks like a fish, Japanese people will often ask, “Which part do you eat first, the head or tail?”

 

What is Kougei-gashi?

Japanese sweets reflect the seasons, and also, ka-chou-fuu-getsu – an idiom made up of four kanji denoting- flowers, birds, the wind and the moon. These show the beauty of the natural world.

Kougei-gashi are a kind of decorative wagashi that are especially designed to be pleasing to the eye. It almost seems a shame to eat them!

About once every four years, sweets from all over Japan are displayed at the National Confectionary Exhibition; the highlight of this event is the kougei-gashi.

Making kougei-gashi brings out the best in wagashi artists. The ingredients are fragile, but are turned into wonderful things like petals and leaves.

s_kougei3[1]  refer to this site :http://www.shingendo.net/wagashino_nakatugawa.html

summary

Whether sweet or salty, most wagashi utilize mochi rice in various ways. Mochi and anko are indispensable ingredients for creating wagashi, giving it that unforgettable, exquisite taste.

 
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