So, after work yesterday Sam and I went to our local Odoya. We call it mini Odoya because we actually have two local Odoyas and one is much larger. Anyway, we went in search for discount meats! In Japan, at around 7pm, you can find meats that are discounted because the likelihood of those items being sold for dinners has gone down and there is only a small time window before they go bad and are worthless. This can also happen with vegetables and makes shopping a little easier on those of us that are money conscious.
Once we arrived at mini Odoya we found that there were no discount meats… Sigh. Instead we went for a firm tofu because it was for a stir fry that was already made and $4 cheaper. If it had been before the stir fry was made, maybe… Who knows?
Whenever I get to go shopping (only on Saturday nights, Sunday, and Monday) I like to walk around and take in the possible purchases. Last night I saw something that I had never seen before!
It was a plump little baked good that looked almost… webbed? I poked the packaging (which is probably a serious don’t in Japan but there was no one else around and I knew my curiosity would lead me to purchasing it…) and it was soft, so it couldn’t have been something like hard, caramelized sugar. I showed it to Sam, who said something to the completely disinterested effect of, “Weird.” and then declared that I needed to buy it to see what it was and whether it was any good.
This morning, while I sat video chatting with my friend Kristin, I unwrapped the little buggers and took a bite! It was really not as crazy as I thought it would be…
In Japan there is a sweet called Manju. I had my first (or second? I can’t remember…) taste of it a few weeks ago and I loved it. What was on the outside was a brown sugary cake and it was filled with anko, which is sweet red bean paste. It was pretty awesome, especially if you like brown sugar and red bean paste!
This, from what I can tell, is the same sort of thing only different.
“Why don’t you just read the packaging?”
Well, it’s all in kanji, which is the worst part of my days in Japan. To find out what anything is you either take a leap or spend ten minutes looking it up. I just spent 5 minutes trying and found out that I will never know that this thing is, so I gave up.
The soft, bubbly outside of this seems like it’s a pancake cooked only on one side. The bubbles seem as though they are the “I’m really, super done” sign that it sent from the pancake to the maker when it is time to flip, only in this case it’s just a million bubble craters. The inside is a green colored bean paste, which is sweet and dense.
So what is my conclusion? Should you buy random sweets you find in a bakery because you’re curious? Does it pay off to let your stomach make all your decisions?
Let me start by saying, follow your stomach, but don’t let it convince you that a bite of dense bean paste is a good breakfast. As the first thing I had today that wasn’t tea, it was really intense… I only managed to get through half before I gave up. However, I did (literally just now) finish the rest and it is better than I previous felt. The bean paste is still a bit much, and it’s really piled in there, but the pancake outside is good and the paste itself has a nice flavor. It might be good with some macha (powdered green tea) to counteract the intense sweetness going on.