“What am I going to eat today?” Here’s a question that a lot of us ponder over on a daily basis. Having to decide what to eat is often seen as a first world problem that illustrates how quickly consumers get bored of eating the same type of food. For this reason, Japanese gastronomy businesses are continuously coming out with new items to add to their menu to pique the interest of their customers. In Japan, this is particularly evident with the change of seasons.
Where should you be looking for the seasonal special of the moment? Your answer – McDonald’s. The Japanese branch of the company are making the most of these final winter weeks in Japan by sprucing up their fries with a national favorite: Daigaku imo (大学芋).
Daigaku imo literally translates as “university potatoes”. There are several theories explaining how this name came about. One theory is that during the Showa (昭和) era a student from Tokyo University did not have enough money to pay his university fees, so he resorted to making and selling this sweet potato snack as a means of making money.
Another theory is that a steamed potato shop called Mikawaya (三河屋) became a big hit among university students thanks to its location close to Tokyo University.
In any case, this syrupy sweet potato snack was always a favorite among university students in Tokyo starting from back in the 1900s. Even after over a century, daigaku imo hasn’t lost its charm which is why it’s a must-try for anyone that gets the chance.
Daigaku imo is made by firstly deep frying sweet potatoes with a splash of soy sauce. The deep fried potatoes are then glazed with honey and finished off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The result is a delicious snack with a crispy outer layer and a soft texture inside.
As the snack is simple to make, it is frequently cooked at home and sold in izakayas. You can also find daigaku imo on sale at supermarkets and stalls. These yummy potatoes live up to their name, making the perfect snack for filling the stomachs of students who burn the midnight oil. I think we can all agree it’s a healthier choice than instant noodles!
McDonald’s Japan has just introduced its new flavor of French fries which made their debut on 15 February 2017. As is often the case, this seasonal speciality will be on the menu for a limited time only.
Even though daigaku imo is traditionally made using sweet potatoes, McDonald’s Japan have used regular potato fries but taken inspiration from the much-loved daigaku imo with an authentic sauce made from a combination of thick honey and sesame seeds that can be poured over the fries. It sure sounds like a mouth-watering combo to me! McDonald’s daigaku imo fries will be on sale for 330 yen, which is a slight increase on the price of regular fries but still fits into the budget of a hungry university student.
If you have never tried daigaku imo, I highly recommend that you not only try the regular version but also have a try of McDonald’s spin on this Japanese favorite. Chances are, you will love both of them! You could even try this one at home, whether you’re in Japan or not.
There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here.
3 Simple but Delicious Sweet Potato Dishes to Try when Visiting Japan!
Find Out What Items McDonald’s Japan Is Hiding On Their New Secret Menu!
Hungry for Sakura-Infused Food? Check LOTTERIA’s Spring 2017 Menu!