Minamoto Kitchoan – NY

Minamoto Kitchoan - NY

Let’s talk about Japanese Sweets, or Wagashi as traditional Japanese sweets are known. Well, who’s ever tasted Japanese candy? Because I’m sure that sushi and sashimi are already part of food choices anywhere in the world !! Ah! Green tea too … lol.
But what about Japanese sweets? Has anyone thought of experimenting?
Well, I have to confess that the taste is completely different from what Westerners are used to. I confess myself that it was not a passion at the first bite … but since adolescence my relationship with Japanese culture is latent, as I had the opportunity to appreciate the textures, the delicate flavors, to know the different ingredients and the different use of common ingredients, the minimalist portions and understand how beautiful and special a Japanese sweet is.
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And here in NY, on 49th Street and 5th Avenue, there is a Japanese candy store called Minamoto Kitchoan. I have to say that the window itself is already a spectacle, meticulously decorated with the little candies inside gift boxes, as if they were jewels, very pleasant even to look at.
Last week I was in Manhattan and decided to stop by to buy a snack, in the middle of the afternoon, quite unpretentiously. After all, if I can’t go to Japan, let Japan come to me, right?
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The store itself is large and the service is done by Japanese women. The ambient music and the sound of the bell when the door opens also remind you of Japanese culture. The candies are beautifully arranged and symmetrically arranged. They can be purchased in one piece (unit) or packed in decorated boxes as if for a gift. They are called Wagashi, they are divided into traditional and seasonal (when they are only found during the harvest of a specific ingredient or are commemorative of special dates) and, generally, they have common ingredients such as anko (sweet bean paste), mochi (bean paste) rice), sweet potatoes, sesame and algae-based thickener.
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The traditional ones that are commonly found outside the world, are the mochi stuffed with anko or the anko stuffed with mochi… rs. But in this store, in addition to these, there are also so many other varieties with textures of cookies, cake, mousse, jelly and gelatin and made with other ingredients, such as Portuguese chestnut, strawberry, peach, Japanese melon, chocolate… the truth is it’s difficult to choose what to taste in the face of so much variety.
On this day, I brought three different ones here.
One of them, the most common and traditional of all, was Daifukumochi and this one cannot be missing from your selection. The composition is always the same: rice paste on the outside (mochi) with sweet bean paste (anko) on the inside. This is really the hardest thing to fall in love with… I, in particular, have been in love with it for a long time, the texture of the mochi just enchants me! And I haven’t put this combination in my mouth for many months … I missed you!
The second of my selection was Kinkandaifuku. It is a variation of the first (like so many others). It has the same rice paste on the outside but on the inside it has a whole kinkan orange, cooked as jam, wrapped in potato paste and condensed milk. Wow!!! Simply from the Gods …
The third was a seasonal one, made with Japanese melons and that is only found at this time of the year because it is a harvest period there in Japan. This one is called No Ka and comes in a cup. It can be eaten without unpacking or unmolded and served in a more interesting way. The consistency is gelatin, but when it comes in contact with the warm temperature of the tongue, it liquefies almost instantly (I think this is a pleonasm = ). Japanese melon is very fragrant but the taste is very delicate. I suggest that it be enjoyed cold. Perfect adjective for this one? refreshing!
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In my selection, I ended up choosing two based on rice paste, but that’s because I’m really cracked. I suggest that your choice is a wagashi with a different texture, perhaps Tsuya, a spongy pancake sandwich with anko filling or Suikansyuku, which consists of white bean paste wrapped in dry persimmon. The truth is that there is a huge variety and do not feel shy to ask about all the doubts and curiosities regarding the ingredients or texture of the sweets. Most of them have a plaque informing the main ingredients, which facilitates the choice.
The sweets sold here or in any other Minamoto Kitchoan around the world, are produced in Japan. This is super cool as it means that the flavors are authentic. There is nothing like experiencing the culinary riches of a culture different from yours prepared with ingredients planted, grown and produced in the country.
The store is easily accessible, located in a very tourist area of ​​Manhattan. It is large and hardly crowded. The service is super friendly and careful. They are open every day of the week (check out the website: www.kitchoan.com for more information).
As for the price, hmmm, it’s not cheap. I mean, each unit costs around $ 3 to $ 4.00. So, if you decide to present someone with these little jewels, be absolutely sure that this beloved person likes Japanese sweets. Another thing, if you are going to spend less than $ 10.00, you will have to pay in cash (cash) as credit cards are only accepted above this amount.
In Japan it is tradition to eat a wagashi accompanied by a cup of hot green tea. Here in the store, you will find bottles of iced green tea for sale, but who knows one day they might also decide to implement a station of prepared teas to be consumed in the store itself? It would be the perfect match. Anyway, when walking around here, do not miss the opportunity to put a foot, too, in Japan.
“Shokuyoku” or, as our friend Danielle Noce would say, “Bon Appétit!”

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