Summer is here! Open the window and you can feel it in the air, the humidity and the unbearable sun. A part of me just wants to stay inside all day away from the heat, but at the same time I’m still happy that summer has come! Japan is famous for seasonal treats, every season has its own delicacy, for anyone who doesn’t know about them, below is the best 3 treats in the summer you must try!!
For those uninitiated, Kakigori is a shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings of various choices be it colourful falvor syrups or condensed milk, also there are new combination with fruits and more. It is one of the street food symbols of Japan’ summer festivals, you will find it in combini and cafes during hot months too, just look for the blue and red “氷” sign!!
With ¥300-500, you can get one cup of kakigori at the summer festivals! Kakigori has become so popular that it is served all-year-round in some cafes in Tokyo and other big cities, with irresistible decorations!
Hiyashi chuka (also known as reimen) is chilled ramen noodles with various colorful toppings and sweet tangy soy sauce or sesame based dressing poured over. Popular toppings include strips of egg crepes, cucumber, ham, and imitation crab or shrimp. I’d love to call reimen “ramen’s summer time siblings” because they are fresh, healthy, and if ramen is Japanese’s winter favorite dishes, then Reimen is the culinary icon for the Japanese summer, it’s so popular that you can see pre-made reimen packages everywhere, from supermarkets to convenience stores such as 7-11 or Lawson.
All the toppings are arranged on top of the chilled ramen bed in a circular pattern make a colorful and delicious meal. The careful arrangement of the dish highlights the importance of presentation, as well as taste, illustrating Japanese cuisine and culture.
Has the shape of a large drop of water, totally transparent, looks like a bowl of jelly but Japanese call them water ‘cakes’ or shingen mochi, one of the trademarked desserts of Japan’s summer. A regular type of shingen mochi is made from a soft type of mochi rice cake, sprinkled with kinako soybean powder and eaten with brown sugar syrup. Its taste is so smooth that it melts in your mouth, and gives soothing and fresh feeling when it travels down your throat!
If the traditional version of this dish is just one large water drop look alike, then the version sold in convenience store and supermarkets is made into around 10 ‘drops’ with a small pack of kinako soybean, all are packaged on small and cute spongy trays.
Besides these top 3 treats, Japanese summer time still has a lot more for you to discover, enjoy yourself under the sunshine and the summer festivals, I’m sure that Japan can never disappoint you!!