Discovering the Sweet Taste of Japanese Manju

In the beginning, I thought it was Mochi rice cake that I have eaten from when I was little. Then I looked again better and the seller told me that it was different. It is another Japanese sweet that she suggested me to try and bring back home from my Japan trip, named Manju.

I’m honestly not someone who really enjoys eating sweets and desserts. There are only very few cakes that I enjoy a lot, including Japanese Mochi, American cheese cake, Italian Tiramisu and a traditional cake from my home country, Lapis Surabaya (layer cake from Surabaya, Indonesia).

Certainly, I also love Italian Christmas cakes such as Pandoro and Panettone but they are only consumed yearly, seasonal during Christmas time so that’s why I don’t want to miss eating them when the time comes every year.

Back to Manju, to describe it briefly, it is a cake made of flour, rice powder and buckwheat. And inside, you can find a filling of anko (red bean paste) that is prepared from boiled adzuki bean and sugar. Its flavours usually vary just like mochi cakes, with different types that you can choose according to your preference.

manju 2.jpg

About its origin, they said it originally came from Chinese Mantou (a steamed bun) brought by a Japanese from his trip in China in the 14th century and sold at first as Nara-manjū. It has now become regular consumption in Japan for seven centuries.

The common Manju is the Matcha or green tea one but you can also find others like flavoured bean or even with orange flavour. Since this was my first time buying it, I picked the common one first, green tea, and maybe, when I return back in the future to Japan, I would buy another one.

My first impression when I tasted it for the first time? It was like a sweet bread (bun) filled with sugared bean just like its description. To tell the truth, I prefer Mochi but possibly, it is because I’m not used to its flavour yet while Mochi, it has been my favourite since childhood.

I wouldn’t say it is not delicious. However, Mochi is better for my taste. Ah, and I should add Japanese Yokan is also yummy and I really like it. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this Japanese summer dessert yet but let’s discuss about it in the next post.

To close this, I will just say that I definitely don’t regret buying Manju and I will buy it again during my next trip to Japan (choosing another flavour). And for you who haven’t tried it yet, make sure you do. Who knows, you’ll like it better than me and prefer it more than Mochi, which can be quite sticky in the mouth.

Nevertheless, one thing for sure is that Japanese food products are never disappointing. Happy weekend guys!


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