10 Japanese Dagashi Snacks Foreign People Fell In Love With
Dagashi refers to cheap candies and snack foods that can generally be bought for less than 100 yen. Many of us Japanese people loved to buy dagashi with friends after school when we were kids (good old days…). They are not luxury sweets but always bring us back to our childhood. And of course even after we grew up, we still love to eat them sometimes. One Japanese TV show thought how people abroad think of Japanese dagashi and they actually brought some to do the survey in Italy and Los Angels, the States. Each has a different result and we found it interesting. Take a look at the results.
No. 5: Ume Jam (approx. 10 yen) sold from 1947 since Ume-no-Hana Hompo
Photo: Ume Jam
The unique jam was popular among the adults as it can be healthy for breakfast. Ume Plum Jam has been made by only one old man at a small factory in a downtown area of Tokyo almost for 70 years. Mr. Takabayashi started to make the jam to feed his family after the Wold War II when he was only 16 years old. He raised the price from 5 yen to 10 yen in 1960s and the price has been the same ever since. It tastes salty and sour, not too sweet. You can just eat it or you can also enjoy with Milk Senbei (rice crackers). They are not the exact same snacks but this video shows how you can eat.
No. 4: Morroco Yogul (appox. 20 yen) sold since 1961 from Sanyo Seika
Photo: Morocco Fruits Yogul
Morrocco Yogul is yogurt-flavored paste in a small cup. The Italian people think it tastes like Ricotta cheese so it may go well with bread. It is very popular in Japan as well and the company has started to sell jumbo-sized of the products. Adults who wished to have lots of the dagashi when they were kids buy the jumbo ones to make their childhood dreams come true. You can see the size difference between the ordinary ones and jumbo-sized ones on the link below.
No. 3: Cut Yotchan (approx. 30 yen) sold since 1977 from Yotchan Food Co. Ltd.
Photo: Yotchan Food Co. Ltd.
This is squid-like vinegared snack. The Italian people liked this since it tastes like Balsamic vinegar. One restaurant waiter even convinced it goes well with Italian Chardonnay wine! Can be sold at dagashi shops, convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan. Sake lovers’ favorite dagashi!
No. 2: Kabayaki-san Taro (appox. 12 yen) sold since 1982 from Kado
Photo: Kabayaki-san Taro
Kabayaki-san Taro (Mr. Kabayaki Taro) tastes like Unagi Kabayaki (Japanese barbecued eel). To our surprise, eels has been eaten in Italy since the Ancient Rome. It is very chewy and you can enjoy the flavor long. Can be sold at convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan.
No. 1: Sauce Senbei (approx. 400 yen for 180 pieces) sold since 1967 from Isuzu Seika
Photo: Isuzu Seika
The sauce flavored rice crackers are the most popular dagashi among the Italian people. They especially loved the Japanese chuno sauce (a kind of vegetable sweet sauce) used for the senbei. They say okonomiyaki restaurants are popular there. Sauce Senbei is made by a small company established in 1959 in Saitama prefecture. It is usually sold at dagashi shops but is getting hard to get these days and enthusiastic fans buy online now.
Los Angels, U.S.A.
No. 5: Fugashi (approx. 20 yen for 1 piece) since 1949 from Kagiya Seika
Fugashi is a long-seller snack made of dried wheat gluten coated with brown sugar. The American people liked its crispy texture and gentle taste of brown sugar.
No. 4: Baby Star Ramen (approx. 30 yen) sold since 1959 from Oyatsu Company
Photo: Oyatsu Company
Baby Star Crispy Noodle Snack in an English name. If you love ramen, you definitely will love this. It is a flavored fried noodle snack that you can eat with hands. So tasty and addictive! It is so popular among L.A. people as there are many Japanese ramen restaurants there now. Like Umaibo, you can enjoy the snack in many ways.
No. 3: Umaibo Mentaiko (spicy caviar) (approx. 10 yen) sold ince 1979 from Yaokin
Umaibo or “delicious bars (sticks)” is a puffed corn snack available in many flavors such as tonkatsu sauce, salami, cheese, teriyaki burger, corn soup, vegetable salad, takoyaki, chicken curry, prawn and mayo, grilled beef tongue, pizza, natto (fermented beans), sugar rusk, yakitori, chocolate, premium mentaiko, premium Japanese-style beef steak and premium mozzarella and Camembert cheese (19 flavors as of June, 2016). Mentaiko (spicy caviar) is very popular everywhere. Some Japanese dagashi freaks do not just eat them, they even cook with Umaibo as secrets ingredients.
No. 2: Miyako Kombu (approx. 30 yen) since 1912 from Nakano Bussan
Photo: Miyako Kombu
Also known as “Nakano Kombu”, Miyako Kombu is made of edible kombu kelp seasoned with vinegar
and sweeteners. You may think kelp is strange for snack but dashi and umami from kombu is very
familiar flavors for the Japanese people. What’s interesting is it was not popular at all among the Italian people at the survey; it was too venegary and they did not like the salty flavor. But here in L.A., kombu kelp is well-known as a healthy food and is getting popular. In Japan as well, some Japanese young women like this dagashi as a low calorie food with benefits to beauty.
No. 1: Kinako-bo (approx. 30 yen for 3 sticks) sold since 1987 from Suzunoya
This is stick-shaped sugar candy coated with kinako, roasted soybean flour. It tastes subtle sweet and ranked as No. 1 in L.A. because of the natural and healthy ingredients. Some Japanese fans enjoy the candy frozen in the freezer or microwave it for about 20 seconds.
Are you interested in any of the above? There are more and more dagashi in Japan. If you want to try some of those, check an Asian or Japanese grocery store near you or shop online. Of course you can buy at dagashi shops in Japan. You can even go to Dagashi Bar in big cities like Tokyo or Osaka!