Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Mitarashi Dango - Mochi-on-a-stick

For me, there is always a nibble (usually a sweet) that I just can't stop eating. For example, Hacendado chocolate cereal bars (red berries and white chocolate, or banana and milk chocolate, mmm), or Toffee Crisp. Now it's Mitarashi Dango (みたらし団子) . Wikipedia describes it as “a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour), topped with a syrup made from shouyu (soy sauce), sugar and starch. Popular with children and women.”. If it's popular with children, it's bound to be good; Mitarashi Dango doesn't disappoint.

- Name: Mitarashi Dango.
- What is it? Three or four balls of a mochi-like thing on a skewer, topped with ultra sweet syrup .
- How much of it? You get 3 sticks in a box in any convini or supa.
- How much in moneys: Convini: Y105; You can get them for Y99 in Jusco, and even reduced if the “eye” is burned in the wrong place!
- Reason to buy: Oh man, this is just too good. It's nice and filling, the perfect in-between-meals nibble (hey, I'm a Nibbler, in-between-meals snacks are ok for me!). And despite the sugar, all the other ingredients are healthy, so it's bound to bee good for you too!
- Reason not to buy: Addictive; I've been found licking an empty plastic box Mitarashi Dango, situation that does no good to your social status.
- How does it taste? Ok, let's see... The dango itself (the ball) tastes pretty much like a slightly sweeter mochi (I just tried them both to compare :) ), and It gets completely eclipsed by the mitarashi (the syrup), with a very sweet syrup-like (obviously) taste, combined with a hint of caramel provided by the “eye” burn, and a slight and nice salty after-taste thanks to the soy souce base. Seriously, jut too good.
- How did it feel? The dango is much less stickier than mochi, but the chewiness is all there; the syrup is thick and finger-lick (or box-lick) inviting. If you put it in the fridge, the syrup transforms into jelly. I myself prefer the room-temperature Mitarashi Dango so the syrup richness gets all around the mouth.
- Show it to me!

So, just a step behind a complete breakfast (ok, maybe not), Mitarashi Dango are NOT just for children and women: no good nibbler should overlook this mouth-watering delicacy.