8 Most Popular Japanese Snacks for Leisure and Tradition
Snacks exist in every food culture. In Japanese cuisine, snacks have a special place as they are so diverse in flavour and appearance. Though a snack is generally defined as a light food eaten between main meals, the culture of snacks is beyond that in Japan. One of the main features of a snack food is its satisfying quality. Snacks are often eaten for pleasure and celebration.
Most of the time, a snack doesn’t require a long time to prepare. Snacks are generally prepared quickly using available ingredients. Snacks are available in packaged forms and also home-cooked in traditional ways.
Below listed are some of the most popular Japanese snacks:
Perhaps the best known Japanese delicacy, mochi is a historically significant traditional snack food. Mochi is made using ‘mochigome’, which means sticky rice (glutinous rice). Mochi is also known as rice cake, in simpler terms, as the primary ingredient used in the preparation of mochi is glutinous rice. Mochi in Japan comes in a multitude of colours and flavours primarily according to seasons, for example, Japan’s famous cherry blossom festival is associated with the making of pink coloured ‘sakura mochi’. Other popular flavours of mocha include green tea flavour, brown sugar, taro, red bean, peanut, sesame and so on. Green tea mochi is one of the most sought after ones.
A good mochi maintains its appearance and chewiness as constant characteristics. Although mochis are mostly spherical in shape, it can appear in many different shapes and sizes.
Takoyaki, as its name suggests, is a tako (octopus meat) based Japanese snack which also contains wheat flour as the batter. Takoyaki is a hot snack, round-shaped and in some parts, they are also used as an appetizer before the meals. Takoyaki is served along with Japanese mayonnaise and also a takoyaki sauce. Apart from minced or diced octopus meat, takoyaki balls also contain tempura batter, pickled ginger, green onion, seaweed as the ingredients. Takoyaki is prepared using a special kind of pan with half-spherical molds, which give these snacks the round figure.
Pocky Biscuit Sticks
Pocky is a biscuit stick originally produced by the Japanese brand Glico in 1966. Over the years, Pocky released different versions of pocky sticks featuring different flavours that include, green tea, honey, banana coconut, and so on. Traditionally, the flavour appeared as a coating on the biscuit stick, eg. Chocolate flavoured pocky. Nowadays, there are many different variants including filled biscuit sticks in many different flavours. Even after the launch of so many pocky flavours, the original chocolate pocky flavour remains as the most demanding one.
Calbee Grill-a-Corn Sticks
Another popular Japanese snacks company is Calbee. The brand offers corn flavoured snack sticks in a variety of flavours under their Calbee Grill-a-Corn brand series. Calbee grilled sticks are mainly available in barbecue, fried garlic, and hot n spicy flavours, and the hot n spicy flavour may be the most sought after one. Calbee Grill-a-Corn hot n spicy flavour adds paprika chilli flavour to their basic corn flavour for the hot n spicy flavour.
Meiji Hello Panda Biscuits
Meiji, another Japanese snack manufacturer is best known for their series of cookie biscuits that comes under the brand name Hello Panda. These delicious snacks are remarkable for their cute panda-themed hexagonal box packets. Hello Panda biscuits contain a small hollow shortbread biscuit with fillings. The curious packing and delicate flavour make Hello Panda biscuits extremely popular among children. Although available in different flavours, such as chocolate, strawberry, matcha green tea, milk, and chocolate, the milk flavoured Hello Panda biscuits are the most popular ones.
Senbei is a type of Japanese rice cracker snack which traditionally comes charcoal-grilled. The primary ingredient of senbei is Japanese rice flour. Although a Japanese traditional snack food, senbei is enjoyed throughout Asia and the most popular brand in Asia is the Want Want brand series. Senbei rice crackers are best enjoyed with green tea as an accompaniment. In Japan, senbei rice crackers are traditionally classified under two categories, namely, sweet senbei and rice candy senbei. But in modern times, there are more types of senbei crackers available in plenty of flavours including, kimchi, nori, wasabi.
Morinaga Hi-Chew Chewy Candies
Hi-Chew is a brand of chewy candies produced by the Japanese company Morinaga. The company owner Taichiro Morinaga got fascinated by the chewing gums that he found in America. Hi-Chew is a result of his research when he sought to make an edible version of chewing gum that can be swallowed, as Japanese people culturally disapproved the idea of taking something out of one’s mouth.
Hi-chew chewy candies are soft and delicious and are shaped like sticks. They come in individually wrapped packing and are available in different flavours including strawberry, grape and peach. Morinaga Hi-Chew strawberry chewy candy is one step ahead in terms of popularity.
A pancake-like confection, Dorayaki is a Japanese style red-bean based Wagashi, which is the generic term for plant-based confections, served with tea in Japan. Dorayaki contains two sponge cakes stuck together with sweet bean paste sandwiched in between. The sponge cake used in Dorayaki snacks is usually a type of castella, which was brought to Japan by the Portuguese merchants. The bean paste is composed of adzuki red beans. Nowadays, there are many different types of fillings for dorayaki, including chestnut and yuzu flavours.
This is not the end of the list for Japanese Snacks. Do checkout our website for more Japanese and Asian snacks.