Sunday, June 12, 2011

Goodies from Shizuoka (Picture Heavy!)

Every region you visit in Japan will boast about their "famous" (though in most cases, self-hyped :P) regional specialties in the form of myriads of food and snack omiyage, a huge culture in Japan and a whole industry to itself! For Shizuoka, it's wasabi, green tea, strawberries, and baked sweet pies, among other things.

These are Strawberry Cream Daifuku

They are really cute bite sized mochi cake with strawberry cream inside.

See how each of them is individually wrapped and nicely packaged? These are meant to be omiyage, brought back from your trip and shared (with colleagues, friends, family, etc.).

See how they're painted to look like a rabbit?

The strawberry cream is really a marshmallow-like, fluffy mousse.

Wasabi peas and soy nuts.

Wasabi peas are individually wrapped, again an omiyage.

Wasabi soy nuts with bits of seaweed.

These are the "famous" pies, buttery and flaky cookies with sugar sprinkles. They're really yummy. The most famous flavor is unagi, yes, you read that right, fresh water eels flavored cookies. More on that later.

But these pies are actually strawberry flavored :P Shizuoka is also "famous" for their strawberries.

Individually wrapped and nicely packaged for omiyage.

Each cookie is tiny, takes me about 2 bites ^.^


Wasabi Senbei

Again individually wrapped and well packaged for omiyage. Notice I bought all these "omiyage" for myself LOL!

I've had a few different wasabi senbei, and these are the first ones that actually packed a bitey punch!

Fresh crop green tea! These are loose leaf. This was for hubby as he loves tea.

This was strawberry cookies dipped in chocolate, an actual omiyage that I gifted to my employer.

The same baked pies as above, only tea flavored. I brought this in as omiyage for my office. I ate one too and it was delicious! I like it much better than the strawberry one and regretted that I didn't buy another package for myself :(

These are somewhat traditional Japanese dessert snacks. It's just sweet anko in a thick paste with some jelly. Waaaaaaaay too sweet. They must have put a block of sugar in each serving or something, but it was so sweet my teeth felt like they were going to rot and fall out afterwards. Urgh.

It was pure sugar, but at least it was very nicely packaged.

And wasabi furikake. This one has a much milder taste and not as bitey as the wasabi sensei above, which is too bad because both hubby and I love wasabi.

Just in case you're wondering, the straw-like background on many of the above pictures are tatami mats at my sister's house. She got lucky in terms of school accommodation and ended up with a spacious 3-DK apartment (3 bedrooms + combined dining and kitchen) all to herself, and all 3 of the rooms are tatami mat rooms! Let me tell you, those mats are really comfortable! They're very firm and at the same time super gentle on your feet (and bums ^.^), unlike wooden, tiled, or vinyl flooring, which can hurt your feet if you're used to (more like spoiled with) walking on carpeted floor. When hubby and I first arrived at my sister's apartment, we just dropped everything and took a nap on the floor with the windows open. No futons or mattress pads or cushions needed.

Now the flip side is that the tatami mats are a pain to take care of. You have to keep them as clean as possible and be very careful not to spill food or anything on them. In addition, every month you have to wipe them down with a vinegar or cleaning solution to prevent all sorts of bugs from making a nice home underneath them.

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