These 5 Heavenly Japanese Sweets (Wagashi) are to Die For

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

Some say “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards. So when you’re feeling down, desserts are definitely the comfort food you need. But, popular desserts are often sugary, making them to be considered as unhealthy.

However, Japanese sweets, also known as " Wagashi ", might be slightly healthier than common confectioneries such as ice cream and chocolate. Wagashi are mostly made from plant-based ingredients. Say, fruits and beans.

More often than not, Wagashi are beautiful for the eyes and tasty for the tongue. Wagashi masters think of Wagashi as a form of art. They are inspired by animals and nature. Also, traditional Wagashi are often served with tea.

Here are the top five Japanese sweets that are heavenly:

1. Daifuku

A round-shaped Japanese sweets made from mochi (pounded sweet rice) with smooth anko (red bean paste) stuffed inside. There’s also potato starch dusted on it to prevent them sticking to each other.

In the modified version, Japanese uses other fillings other than smooth anko such as cheese, ice cream and strawberry. Daifuku is better to be eaten fresh, since it tends to go hard when it’s exposed to air.

2. Dorayaki

Many Wagashi uses anko as its fillings and Dorayaki is no exception. It’s a pancake-like round sweet consisting of castella with anko as its fillings. Indeed, modern variations use other fillings such as green tea and whipped cream instead. Dorayaki has been an internationally-recognised food as it’s Doraemon’s (popular Japan anime) favourite confectionery.

3. Manju

Another famous traditional Japanese sweets. It’s basically steamed cake made from flour, buckwheat, and rice powder. Don’t forget a filling of anko (again). Manju has plenty of varieties. There are manju with various fillings, as well as various shapes! For example, you can find manju shaped as rabbits, peaches or even mushrooms!

4. Namagashi

It’s actually a wet confectionery which contains 30% or more moisture. Namagashi is made of rice flour and anko. They are shaped to reflect the seasons. Because they are so beautifully shaped and hand-made, they make you feeling guilty while you’re eating them.

Also, it’s the only Wagashi served during a tea ceremony. Since it’s very soft and fragile, you can’t take it home as a souvenir.

5. Taiyaki

It’s a fish-shaped snack loved by many! It has anko fillings as well, but the pancake batters are fried unlike Dorayaki. Modern taiyaki has more choice of fillings too such as chocolate and ice cream.

Taiyaki is best eaten right after it’s freshly made so you can enjoy its crispiness. The snack is more desirable during cold winter. Well, who doesn’t want to eat hot sweets shaped like fish when it’s freezing outside?

Would you prefer your wagashi made the traditional way with anko or would you rather indulge in the modernised flavours?

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