Japanese Confections. Ooooh! Pretty!

by Wendy Copley on April 28, 2010

My husband is nice. Last Friday, he came home from the city with a lovely little surprise for me — a bag full of Japanese confections from a store on Market St. called Minamoto Kitchoan. I’m not sure if I’d ever even tasted a Japanese dessert before (not counting Pocky and Hello Panda!) so I’m no expert, but just by looking at them you can tell that these are some mighty fine treats. Even the way they were packaged was beautiful. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Oh wait! Before we begin, I should tell you that I’m not at all familiar with these foods. Most of these flavors were unfamiliar to me and the English translations on the labels are simplistic at best, so please forgive me if I’m completely inaccurate in my descriptions of these items. OK, let’s carry on!

The first package was a pillow box decorated to look like a blue fish. Nice, isn’t it?

Japanese Confections

The other side was the same fish, but it was red.

Japanese Confections

This is what was inside the box:

Japanese Confections

According to the English translations on the labels these were (clockwise from top left): bean cake, bean cake, bean cake, and chocolat mikasa.

The “bean cake” description was pretty frustrating as these were all very different in looks and taste and I would have liked a little more information about them. I thought this one was the prettiest:

Japanese Confections

It was a lovely pale green on the outside with a darker green center and it tasted like green tea. Zach and I thought it was tasty, but the boys both spit it out when they tried it, and Wyatt hilariously asked, “Why does it taste like that??”

The second package of treats was also prettily packaged:

Japanese Confections

This bag contained gorgeously packaged jellies. These look huge in the pictures, but each one was only about an inch and a half tall.

This one was citron flavored. I thought this one tasted the best and everyone else enjoyed it too. I wish I’d taken a picture of the jelly itself because it looked like a gorgeous, yellow jewel.

Japanese Confections

We haven’t opened this one yet. The label on it says it’s “bean jelly”. The packaging is gorgeous, but I’ll admit I’m a little apprehensive.

Japanese Confections

This one had the prettiest packaging:

Japanese Confections

And the jelly inside was beautiful too:

Japanese Confections

The flavor of this was fresh, delicate and slightly herb-y. I couldn’t find an English label on the package, so I have no idea what this was.

Aren’t they all lovely? I think we all had fun with this culinary adventure.

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  • viajeramundial

    I love reading your blog and hearing all of your adventures with your kids and projects. Thanks for sharing the japanese delights, love Wyatt's comment…kids are so honest.

  • I just passed Minamoto Kitchoan! AND I THOUGHT OF YOU.

  • michellegrimordeggers

    After staying in japan for the past few months, I can speak to their desserts a little bit – It looks like you got a great selection!

    Sadly, the bean paste (adzuki) is kind of ubiquitous. Everywhere that you expect there to be chocolate, you'll be sourly disappointed because its… never chocolate! Always bean paste! The green stuff if really common too (matcha flavour).

    Their packaging is never anything short of top notch. I love it.

    The fish box is for something called “children's day” on May 5, where the country celebrates children's different personalities and their overall happiness. Around this time of year, you see fish-flags hung EVERYWHERE!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgrimord/456045870

  • SisterDiane

    Swoon… I loves me some Japanese packaging. You're making me want to go wander the aisles of our local Asian grocery today!

  • harmony6380

    Hi, I thought I would share these deals I saw today. You were my bento inspiration when I was looking for lunch box ideas. 🙂 Anyway, I thought they were pretty cute.
    http://www.getyubo.com/ and their products were on a deal-a-day website today (4/29) http://www.babyhalfoff.com/

  • Amy

    Thank you for sharing your Japanese delights! They remind me of the Japanese store in Epcot at Disney World- we always stop in there and buy a bunch of little treats, having no idea what they are…like you, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised, and sometimes, like Wyatt, we are just surprised!

  • Wow – verrrry interesting! I appreciate your adventurous and willing spirit to try those, cuz I think I'd be scared to! 🙂 So is the jelly like a very dense jello type substance?

    The packaging is lovely.

  • The consistency of the jelly is hard to describe. I'd say it's kind of like a Jello jiggler but not as rubbery. Or maybe like a cross between supermarket grape jelly and gelatin. Dense is definitely right though.

  • Oh thanks! I wondered if the packaging might have something to do with Children's Day, but I didn't know enough about it to be sure.

  • i had to laugh while reading this because of the memories it triggered for me. i lived in japan for a couple years and before moving there was unaware of their serious devotion to bean paste. on that first plane ride over, we were given rolls that were filled with something we couldn't quite decide what it was–some sort of jelly? a type of chocolate? of course, now i know it's bean paste. i never minded the taste, but it wasn't something i ever sought out. i learned, too, to eat first and then ask later what it was i ate. you guys are so adventurous!

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