Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A taste of Japan

This afternoon, I was delighted to find a parcel for me all the way from Japan. I knew that could only mean one thing - my beautiful girlfriend, Ms Fi, had very generously decided to spoil me (yet again!). While, I always endeavor to resist opening my Christmas gifts from abroad until as close to Christmas as possible, Australian quarantine had hacked into this parcel and had done a less than stellar job at re-wrapping it (not that I'm complaining - it's important to maintain our pristine ecosystem!). Accordingly, I decided I could justify taking a sneak peak early (sorry, Fi!).
I'm always particularly excited when Fi sends packages, as they are quite often, Japanese foodstuffs and, in particular, Manjū. This parcel did not disappoint and I was thrilled to see the little doughy ovals (individually wrapped of course - there's no other way in Japan!). My beloved and I fell in love with these treats while travelling throughout the south of Japan with Fi during the blossom (sakura) season of 2008. 
Once I saw these babies, I couldn't resist trying one! 

Thank you so very much, dear Fi! You are such a special and thoughtful friend and I'm extremely lucky to have a person like you in my life!

On a concluding note, I personally think Asian desserts are far, far superior to Western treats (with the exception of a good tiramisu or vanilla slice!). The use of bean pastes, taro, coconut milk, pandan leaf, sago, jack fruit (not simultaneously...although there's an idea!) and the other various goods involved make for more complex and delicate flavours, less overbearing richness and, quite frankly, huge amounts of deliciousness! What do others think? If you're new to these flavours, I implore you to take a trip down to your local Asian bakery/grocery store to try some cakes/desserts NOW!


  1. I am pretty sure I have tasted a concoction where it was some bean + taro + sago + jackfruit swimming in a pandan flavoured coconut milk soup. Yum =)

    I think a lot of Western desserts have a lot of elegance and finess though, how do you go past a french pastry?! Just different flavour profiles I guess. The interesting thing about Asian desserts is the use of beans/pulses and root vegies whereas in western desserts it's usually only fruit, coffee or chocolate? Or is there a family of western desserts I'm missing

  2. I need to try that concoction, V! Take me to it! ;)
    It's interesting (given our backgrounds) that you seem to have a far greater appreciation for Western desserts, and I, the reverse...
    You're spot on about the ostensibly less diverse nature of Western desserts...although I think you're missing the custard-y type creations (vanilla slices/Crème brûlée etc.)
    Damn it, now I'm craving dessert again!

  3. Ah yes, the creamy sort is the good sort as well!
    I think my somewhat lesser appreciation for Asian desserts is because a lot of them a dead simple (I know I'm grossly generalising, because there are some rather tricky ones). Plus, I guess I view them as more 'homely' and thus am less impressed by them?