5 Top-Notch Kinako Treats: From Classic Souvenir Snacks to Ice Cream, Fried Bread, and More!
Japanese folks know all about kinako since it is used in a variety of traditional Japanese confections, which are called "wagashi" in Japanese. Recently, its nutritional value has caught the eyes of many as a choice for healthy eating. With that in mind, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the best snacks and souvenirs featuring kinako!
What Is Kinako?
Kinako is a powder with a hint of sweetness made from dried, ground soybeans. Soybeans are packed with a variety of nutrients, chief among which is isoflavone. It is said to lead to healthier, more beautiful skin.
There are all sorts of ways to enjoy kinako: it is used in many different wagashi, eaten along with sugar as a topping for mochi at home, and can even be dissolved in milk or soy milk and enjoyed as a drink!
Kinako can be purchased at most supermarkets for between 100 and 300 JPY, which makes it a perfect souvenir.
These Are Japan's Best Kinako Sweets!
All manner of sweet treats with kinako are sold at supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Japan, and almost all of them can be bought for just 100 JPY!
Now then, here's an introduction to some kinako treats in Japan that you'll want to eat!
Kinako Ice Cream
The fragrant aroma of the kinako combines well with the sweetness of ice cream for a melt-in-your-mouth delight. While you can find places selling kinako ice cream, it can be easily made if you purchase the two ingredients yourself. Vanilla and green tea ice cream pair particularly well. By simply sprinkling kinako on top, your normal ice cream will transform into an entirely new treat featuring the taste of Japan!
Kinako sticks are beloved as a cheap treat in Japan. Their low cost and long shelf life also make them a top choice for a souvenir.
The sticks are made by mixing kinako in with warm syrup and honey, freezing and molding them into their stick-like shape, and then once again covering them in kinako. These snacks can be truly personalized by topping it with matcha, ground sesame, cinnamon sugar, or whatever topping you enjoy!
Kinako Fried Bread
This treat is often sold at bakeries. Kinako fried bread also appears in school lunches and is an extremely popular snack among children.
The bread is quick-fried in oil and topped with a mixture of kinako, sugar, and a pinch of salt while it is hot. While any bread is okay to use, the Japanese tend to make this treat with a long piece of bread similar to a hot dog bun.
When it comes to kinako sweets that can be made at home in Japan, look no further than kinako mochi. Try making it yourself! Picking up some kinoko and mochi at the store will mean you are well on your way to enjoying this simple yet delicious treat.
Dip some fried mochi into boiling water, make a mixture with a 7:3 ratio of kinako and sugar, and sprinkle it on top to finish. For those with a sweet tooth, try a 2:1 ratio of the two and add a pinch of salt to really make the sweetness stand out.
Recommended as a Souvenir!
Shingen Mochi (Raindrop Cake)
If it's souvenirs you want, then a highly recommended treat is none other than Kikyouya's Shingen Mochi! Soft mochi, rich brown sugar syrup, and a generous topping of kinako really bring this snack to life. Though shingen mochi is Yamanashi Prefecture's signature sweet treat, it can be purchased at Tokyo Station, Akihabara Station, Ueno Station, Haneda Airport, Narita Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, and other transportation hubs.
Kibi Dango is made by first kneading flour made from a grain called "inakibo" into a ball before topping with kinako and serving. Okayama Prefecture claims this dish as their own, but fresh-made kibi dango from a store called Azuma can be found at the shopping street "Nakamise" leading up to the popular Asakusa sightseeing spot, Senso-ji Temple. If you buy them as a souvenir, be sure to boil your kibi dango for a bit before eating for that freshly made flavor.
These are a few different types of sweets using kinako that can be bought at convenience stores, supermarkets, and specialty stores throughout Japan. Try all of them out sometime! If you like them enough, be sure to try making them on your own at home!
*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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