January 18, 2010

A Sweet Potato Rainbow

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?



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out, Diana!

Olga @ Healthing It said...

WOW, that purple sweet potato filling looks AHHHMAAZZINNNG. I'd love to go to Japan, there's so much crazy goodness!

I love sweet potatoes in fry form...but I'd eat that treat in a hot minute too!

Gabriela said...

The purple sweet potato candy looks so interesting! Weird idea! I love my sweet potatoes mashed and with lots of brown sugar, my aunt makes them every year for Thanksgiving and they're incredible.

Anonymous said...

wow love the fish shaped snack! that is so cool!

Anonymous said...

steamed! I had some tonight. But Iwould also be happy to eat a sweet potato fish shaped sandwich!

Anonymous said...

I want to visit Japan so badly! My cousin moved there in August and is living there for 2 years so I have to visit her at some point! Your trips looks like it was the trip of a lifetime with amazing cultural foods!



Anonymous said...

yum! sweet potato treats! my stepmom is from japan and she sometimes brings back tasty things that have sweet potato in them, but i don't think you can beat eating them fresh like they are when they're sold on teh street like that

Anonymous said...

yum! sweet potato treats! my stepmom is from japan and she sometimes brings back tasty things that have sweet potato in them, but i don't think you can beat eating them fresh like they are when they're sold on teh street like that

Haleigh said...

How cool! The Japanese treats are so cute and I bet they tasted as good as they look. I love learning about different cultures and their cuisine... and Japan is pretty high up on my travel bucket list.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

"a sweet purple sweet potato mash and covered in soft, spongy dough."--holy texture AND color unique-ness!! wow!

sweet pot's, either steamed or baked but honestly i dont eat them that much. I like them, but i like greens better than oranges (i.e. squashes, taters, etc). I know, im odd :)

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Gina said...

I've never seen sweet potatoes used in so many unique forms!! I like my sweet potatoes either in the form of chips or fries, however I also just like them cooked with butter and some brown sugar. SO, I guess I also like them sweetened, therefore these treats would be right up my alley. And the purple sweet potato?! Crazy.

katherine said...

I like my sweet potatoes pretty much any way I can find them: mashed, fried, baked, roasted - with PB, with Franks, with coconut butter, with salt and olive oil. Doesn't matter to me, just hand over that spud!

Sophie @ yumventures said...

My favorite sweet potato is definitely cut into rounds, tossed with some olive oil and rosemary, and roasted in the oven. Yum-o!

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

All of those sweet potato treats looks yummy. I love sweet potatoes in all forms (sweet and savory) but I'm not allowed to eat them on the low oxalate diet. Sadness. Eat some extra for me. ;-)

Mo Diva said...

I LOVE steamed buns! I think i would have devoured that bad boy in seconds!

I like my sweet taters with a lil butter and cinnamon.

elise said...

oooooooo. sweet tater heaven. can you read that to know the insides were sweet potatoes or were you just going for it, hoping for the best!?

i like mine steamed with pounds of BBQ sauce on top. yummmm

Marina said...

That fishy waffle looks so good! I'd definitely try it!

Shannon said...

omg, so amazing!! i love my sweet potatoes any way, but slow roasted seems to be my choice of late :)

Elina said...

Wow, I had no idea the Japanese use/like sweet potatoes. Very cool. More reasons to like Japan! I can't wait to visit one day... :)