Best eaten: Roasted
With more than a hundred different varieties all over Japan, satsuma imo is harvested at its peak sugar level in autumn. One of the most common varieties has red skin and yellow flesh in mainland Japan, while the purple version is found on the islands of Okinawa. Whichever variety you choose, roasted sweet potato (yaki imo) is Japan’s most popular snack when the weather turns chilly. Simply eat yaki imo on its own to enjoy its natural creaminess, or with a dollop of butter and some salt and pepper to enhance its sweetness. The best way to get your hands on these hot morsels is from a passing yaki imo truck, which announces its arrival with a tinkling jingle and the heavenly smell of the roasted tuber.