Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Manju, Dango and Japanese Ding Dongs

One of our colleagues reluctantly returned from Japan from a trip to see his newly born daughter.  Family does not stop the march of science, you see! As has been done in the past he brought us some Japanese sweets. We are familiar with a lot of these and always like the way they are wrapped almost to excess.  We had three different things offered up.
Three nice little packages!

Plain Pink parchment type wrapper!

Another package with a drawing...

Similar format - do you think it is from the same company?

Explaining what we are about to indulge in!

The first is a treat called Manju. †his is a small little bite size treat that is made kind of like a tea cake. The outside is flour but the filling is a sweetened bean paste or something similar. They use beans and bean-derived concoctions quite a bit actually.  Usually they are not too sweet and somewhat dry. This is why they go well with tea or in our case coffee.  As you can see this one had a nice little character drawing on the top.  We think that might be the character for "Manju" but we are not sure.  People did tend to like these little things so so far so good.

Little Manjus all nicely in rows!

A little nugget filled with bean paste!

The second treat was something called Dango.  These are kind of interesting.  They are made of sweetened rice flour and are made into little balls that are skewered and served on a stick.  The flavoring of these was green tea.  So not only are we eating something sweet but earning health benefits at the same time.  Because it is rice flour these are actually soft and somewhat gooey.  Somewhat similar to one of those "Chuckle" candies or spearmint wedges but a little softer.  Again they were not appreciably sweet so we washed them down with our favorite caffeinated beverage.

Box o' Dango!

Individually wrapped for a taste sensation!
Dango on a stick!
Loves me some dango!
Out last selection was something we have had before - actually I think we have had all these before!  They are some very nicely wrapped and displayed cookie sandwiches consisting of washboard-like cookies with a sweetened cream in between. These are again not too sweet but more familiar for western palates so were probably received the best. These are INDIVIDUALLY wrapped and contain a card with a lot of Japanese writing that we did not understand. So to come up with how to call them in a totally inappropriate free association we likened them to certain filled Hostess treats called Ding Dongs hence the newly named Japanese Ding Dongs.

Nicely packed and individually wrapped!
Two cookies filled with cream - Japanese Ding Dong!
This card probably has the real name but we didn't ask!
That doesn't mean some didn't try to figure it out!
Our Japanese colleagues savoring the success of Ding Dongs!

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