A Taste of Japan in Switzerland

May 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

I was in Switzerland a few weeks ago visiting one of my best friends. On my last night there, to my surprise, she brought out a package of Nama Yatsuhashi, Japanese mochi sweets that I hadn’t had the pleasure of eating since my trip to Tokyo! Talk about global appeal.

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Nama Yatsuhashi look like delicate crepe triangles wrapped around a lump of color in the middle — usually a fruit or red bean paste, chocolate, or even sweet potato. They’re sweet and delicious, popular in Kyoto and travel especially well (hence their tendency to show up all over the world after someone makes a trip to Japan). Eating them before they spoil proves no challenge; in fact, it’s better if you share them because if you’re alone, one second you’re chewing contentedly and the next second you look down and they’re all gone (um, not that I’d know or anything ;).

My friend’s Japanese colleague gave them to her in recognition of Cherry Blossom season and the filling inside was dark pink and reminiscent of strawberries.

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The blog Sweet Travel waxes rhapsodic over the treat. One reason they’re so lip-smackingly good to foreigners is because the dough is made with rice flour, sugar and cinnamon. You can also drizzle powdered sugar or syrup on top to complete the look. Yatsuhashi is traditionally cooked on a griddle like a pancake before it’s flattened, stretched out and folded over a designated flavor. You can find both the cooked and raw versions (nama) in stalls or souvenir shops. Yum!!

Sarah S.

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