Posts tagged ‘sweets’

Wired on Sweets

There’s no end to my obsession with all things sweet. I dream about swimming in a pool of melted chocolate and opening a closet stacked with strawberry sponge cake. I want to wear a sundress made of crepe and Nutella!

So here’s a tasty accessory that’ll satisfy my unhealthy obsession:

That’s right, it’s an iPod cord clamped with a fish and a pancake. They’re actually two of my favorite Japanese sweets called Dorayaki and Taiyaki — hot, iron-grilled cakes filled with sweet red-bean paste. You’ll find all kinds of variations throughout Japan, stuffed with custard, strawberries and cream, or mixed with green tea powder. Though it’s a novel creation to fill them with a bundle of wires.

The accessories don’t just hang pretty; they serve as a spool, helping you wind up annoyingly long cords dangling from your ears. They’re soft and springy so they almost feel like the real thing, only without the sweet filling.

When I get them ($5), I need to remind myself not to get in the habit of gnawing on them. It’ll end up being a real shocker if I do!

Himawari

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June 30, 2011 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

I *Heart* Chocolate

It’s that time of year when Japanese women contemplate what to get for the men in their life. So what do they give? CHOCOLATE!

Valentine’s Day is yet another occasion to sell, sell, sell. Jumping on V-Day fever, chocolate shops get inventive with their creations. Think animal-shaped cakes, multi-colored ganache cubes, and creamy morsels sprinkled with matcha green tea powder. Even if you’re not a fan of cacao, your taste buds will force you to take a bite

For those extra-special men, most women forgo store-bought treats and work their magic in the kitchen, melting chocolate chips over a double-pot boiler and cooling it in a heart-shaped frame. I saw a flyer on Don Quijote’s site that offers deals on hand-mixers, fondue sets, chocolate fountains and food scales. Just looking at it made me want to get in on the action and whip up a bowl of velvety ganache. Though I’d probably eat it myself instead of giving it away. ^^

A box of homemade chocolates is far more precious than store chocolates because it takes time and effort to make. “Kokoro wo komete” (‘from the heart’) is the phrase often used. A while back, I was playing this one dating sim for Nintendo DS, Tokimeki Memorial, where I could either buy the boy I liked a box of chocolates or make it. If I made it myself, I was nearly guaranteed he’d ask me out. Haha! My stylus pen got a good workout stirring that virtual bowl of chocolate! \(^o^)/

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

February 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Have a Kit Kat!

Have a Kit Kat!

If you’re ever in Japan, there’s only one thing I suggest buying: Kit Kat!

Because you’re not getting just any old Kit Kat, but a limited-edition piece of candy. That’s right, in different parts of the country you’ll find flavors you won’t get elsewhere. In the U.S., Kit Kat comes in just one flavor — chocolate — but check out how many Japan has:

plum soda
sour orange
chocolate mango pudding
Ramune
white
sports drink flavor
apple vinegar
espresso coffee
kinako
green tea
soy sauce
mango
cherry blossom
caramel and salt
grilled corn
apple
…and the list goes on.

Flavored Kit Kats began in the year 2000 with strawberry. It was a huge hit, so the following year they launched orange — and the rest is tastebud history. I find the most interesting flavors at the airport gift shop, though sometimes they come out of vending machines along some busy Tokyo streetcorner. I have to admit, some flavors are weird. Like why would you want soy sauce in your chocolate?? Though I’ve tried that one and strangely enough, it’s not bad.

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The psychology of ‘limited edition Kit Kats’ is such a brilliant idea because it compels you to collect them all, regardless of whether you’re actually going to eat them or not. For me, I just want the boxes to add them to my wall collection.

For those who’ve been to Japan, what’s the most interesting flavor you’ve come across? Tell me!!

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

September 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Sweets for Men

“Sweets Otoko (Man)” is the new buzzword describing the growing number of Japanese men buying up desserts these days as shops and cafes hone in on this untapped demographic. News is going around that more men are visiting the local ‘dessert buffet,’ which has been a notoriously female-only affair.

For those who don’t know, ‘dessert buffets’ are like salad bars: you pay a set fee to stuff your face. Sometimes there’s a time limit and oftentimes there’s a line out the door. Eating events like these only come a few times a month for a limited number of hours, so it becomes a big spectacle.

I could see why men up until now have been so intimidated by swarms of women running after a tray of creme brulee. Though these days, men are starting to arrive with their own crew of sugar-happy friends.

I’ve mentioned here before the popularity of fresh caramels. And more recently you’ll see caramels seasoned with pepper, salt, or even wasabi (!?) And if you don’t think size matters, think again. The website Men’s Sweets Cafe lists an assortment of extra large desserts, from super-size chocolate cake to whipping cream-filled mochi. That’s more bang for your bundt cake!

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Personally, I’d love to try this chocolate pudding. It’s light on sugar and has hints of salt and cinnamon. It looks so soft and velvety it makes me want to drink it down like milk.

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Of course, Pocky was the true innovator of this ‘for men’ trend. Men’s Pocky seemed silly at the time, but it did stir interest. It’s no different from regular Pocky other than being coated in dark chocolate. But most straight guys wouldn’t be caught nibbling on a pink stick.

menspocky-sm
It almost feels like reverse discrimination to see all these delicious desserts being labeled for men. They look so good and who says women don’t enjoy dark chocolate, salt and pepper in their sweets? As a strong, liberated female, I’m making a plea to take our desserts back. Who’s with me?!

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

July 21, 2009 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

A Taste of Japan in Switzerland

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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japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

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


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