If you’ll forgive my returning to December’s Japan trip yet again, I think you’ll get a kick out of some treats I turned up in Kawagoe. Here is the town’s landmark bell tower:
Kawagoe, also known as “Little Edo,” is a small town about an hour outside of Tokyo. It feels a little old-fashioned; the older section is said to resemble Tokyo back when it was still known as Edo.
More importantly, however, Kawagoe is known for its penny candy street, which is actually filled with all manner of fun confections, more so than candy. And most of it is made of sweet potatoes, of all things!
Despite my raging sweet tooth, I actually tend to prefer my sweet potatoes prepared on the salty side. There was no denying how tasty Kawagoe’s sweet potato treats were, though. This steamed bun was filled with a sweet purple sweet potato mash and covered in soft, spongy dough.
Yet more interesting was this fish-shaped snack:
Looking at that picture, I can see how any Westerner would probably be nervous to find out what was inside, but given the theme of this post, it should come as no surprise that it was more sweet potatoes.
Actually, this snack was offered with a variety of fillings, including chocolate and various fruit flavors. The fishy outsides were actually made of what you’d think of as pancake or waffle batter—that’s exactly what it smelled and tasted like, anyway. The batter was poured into fish-shaped molds and cooked just like waffles. The vendor then spread your filling of choice between two fishies and handed the whole thing to you as a sandwich.
Several sweet potato snacks later, I may or may not be convinced that I enjoy my sweet potatoes…well, sweet.
I wish I had taken more pictures because the bun and the fish above represent but a fraction of the sweet potato permutations I came across in Kawagoe. Here’s a small display I saw in the train station on my way back to Tokyo:
The large white boxes containing candied sweet potato slices were fairly ubiquitous throughout our short visit to Kawagoe, but if you look very closely, you’ll see that there were even sweet potato Kit-Kat bars. Alas, that taste was left to my imagination. I imagine good things, though. :)
How do you like to eat your sweet potatoes?
- Visit my friend Sarah’s new blog, Sarah Eats & Stuff!