Aug 10, 2018
Oh, sweet! Summertime in Japan can get fairly hot and humid. So, many people will often turn to chilled seasonal foods to help cool themselves down and even whet their appetite.
And there are certain foods that make the effort worthwhile. The best way to beat the heat is to indulge in summer desserts that hit the (sweet) spot. The Japanese enjoy several types of these cold treats, which have even exported overseas and can easily be found in outside Japan these days too.
Besides making the heat more bearable, these chilled sweets even rekindle childhood memories since they’re served during summer festivals (such as kakigori) or are a favourite choice of the summertime ochugen gift exchange (such as mizu yokan). Just like how eating a big bowl of ice cream is ideal on a hot day, these Japanese dessers are best enjoyed when the heat is on.
Ice is, of course, a popular item to enjoy in summer, which is why it’s the main ingredient in a popular sweet treat that’s been around in Japan for a very long time. You may be familiar with it, the shaved ice dessert called kakigori.
A more traditional Japanese dessert of summer is kuzukiri or kuzukiri noodles. With an elegant and refreshing taste, it has gained more prominence across the country in recent years, having being invented in Kyoto.
Another traditional Japanese dessert is mizu yokan, a sweet, cold block of delicious red bean jelly that will make it hard to stop at just one small piece.
Contrary to what you may think, all of these Japanese sweets are simple and easy to make as long as you get right ingredients, especially if you prefer your desserts straight from your kitchen. Get a recipe from a trusted friend (or simply scour the internet), go forth and experiment.
(TEXT Denyse Yeo )