Dorayaki is a type of Japanese confection which is similar to pancakes. Sandwiched between the two round pancakes is usually sweet azuki bean paste filling.
Fans of the Doraemon series will recognize dorayaki as being Doraemon’s favorite food. The creation of the Doraemon series since 1969 has propelled dorayaki into becoming a huge part of Japanese pop culture.
The word ‘dora’ actually stems from the Japanese word for gong, which is, well, dora. According to one legend of how dorayaki came by its name, the samurai, Benkei, had supposedly left his gong at a farmer’s house where he had been seeking refuge. The farmer then took the gong to cook pancakes, leading to the name dorayaki.
It could be that the shape of dorayaki is coincidentally similar to the shape of a gong, so that story was invented to support the creation of dorayaki’s name. It is said that the earlier version of dorayaki only consisted of one layer which was folded like an omelet instead of like a round sandwich. The double layer version was invented by Usagiya in the district of Ueno in 1914.
In areas of Kansai such as Nara and Osaka, dorayaki is called by a different name: mikasa. While mikasa originally means triple straw hat, it is also another name for Mount Wakakusa that is located in Nara.
Even though dorayaki is usually filled with red bean paste, there are other filings which have become more popular in recent years such as cream, custard, chestnut, matcha, and chocolate. There are countless modern varieties which may also include toppings. Dorayaki is delicious whether eaten hot or cold.
If you can recall reading the Doraemon manga, there are instances when Doraemon ate big dorayaki instead of small ones. In Nara, there are actually well-known, large-sized dorayaki with diameters of 30 cm!
In 2008, Marukyo, which is the major manufacturer of dorayaki, set the day of dorayaki to fall on the 4th of April. Dorayaki is loved by many children in Japan, so its national day lies between Girl’s Day which falls on the 3rd of March and Boy’s Day (or Children’s Day) which falls on the 5th of May in Japan.
Dorayaki is a favorite among many people in Japan. Is it one of your favorites, too?
・50 Things to Do in Ueno, Tokyo’s Fusion District of the Old and the New, in 2018
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・Travel back to your childhood! Doraemon museum