Best Kyushu Souvenirs! Five Select Sweets to Take Home
Kyushu, which consists of prefectures each with their own characteristics, is full of specialty gourmet items. In addition to the great regional cuisine, it has a variety of sweets that are perfect as souvenirs. Here are five famous sweets that are highly recommended.
Castella is a sweet that was brought to Japan from Portugal during the latter half of the 16th century and evolved to its current form. It is a type of sponge cake that is made by baking a batter of eggs, flour, and sugar.
Castella are available throughout Japan, but those from Nagasaki are particularly famous. Castella from Nagasaki are distinguished by the crunchy texture of the granulated sugar on the bottom. The granulated sugar is not melted completely when the batter is stirred, so it collects at the bottom and creates a unique texture.
Fukusaya, which was founded in 1624, is considered to be the originator of castella. It retains the traditional flavors of castella that are all handmade without using automated equipment such as mixers. Price: 1,188 JPY/each (incl. tax) and up
2. Tsukushi Mochi
If you are going to Fukuoka, Tsukushi Mochi (360 JPY/pack of three (incl. tax) and up) is also recommended. It is a mochi sweet made by the established wagashi sweets store, Josuian, which has its main store in Hakata. Its appeal is the simple flavors of bite-size mochi with kinako roasted soybean flour sprinkled on them.
The mochi that is made by mixing local mochi rice with high-quality water is very soft. The aroma of kinako flour made by roasting soybeans and the sweetness fills your mouth. It is even better when you pour the brown sugar syrup that comes with it on it to add a soft sweetness.
3. Hakata Torimon
Hakata Torimon (560 JPY/pack of five (incl. tax) and up) by Meigetsudo, which was founded 88 years ago, is also hugely popular as a Fukuoka souvenir. It is a dessert that combines the wagashi Japanese sweets-making techniques of Hakata, which is known as the birthplace of manju*, with elements of Western confectionery.
It consists of white sweet bean paste wrapped in manju wrapper made with fresh cream to add a milky aroma. The white sweet bean paste has butter to create a rich and elegant finish. It is only sold in Hakata and the areas around Fukuoka City based on the desire to "cherish the Hakata flavor."
*A traditional wagashi sweet made by wrapping an sweet bean paste in a wrapper made with flour and other ingredients.
4. Niwaka Sempei
Niwaka Sempei (432 JPY/three packs of three (incl. tax) and up), which is distinguished by its unique design, is a product of Toundo, which has shops primarily in Fukuoka. Its design is based on the mask used in Hakata Niwaka, a traditional Hakata performing arts of improvisational comedy in the Hakata dialect with a punch line at the end.
A batter made with flour, sugar and plenty of eggs is baked to a caramel color that is highly rated for its crunchy texture, the flavor of eggs, and the aroma. There is a burnt-in image of the eyes and eyebrows of the mask on the surface.
5. Shoro Manju
This is a famous sweet that is representative of Karatsu in Saga. It is the Shoro Manju (972 JPY/pack of 10 (incl. tax)) made by Ohara Roho, founded in 1850. The name derives from its round shape, which looks like a shoro (truffle).
A smooth and light koshian (cooked and sweetened azuki bean that have been made smooth by straining) is wrapped in a thin castella batter of flour, sugar and eggs. Each one is carefully grilled by hand on an copper plate to achieve its wonderful flavor.
Most of the sweets introduced here can be purchased at major stations in their respective prefectures. Please refer to this information if you have difficulty choosing souvenirs from the many choices that are available.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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