We had a great Christmas and a start to the new year. I hope you have too. For Christmas, my parents and my sister’s family came down to celebrate it with us. When they come to visit they always bring some Japanese food with them. One item my children love to receive is seaweed! Yes, seaweed. It is called “nori” in japanese. Even though they are only a quarter Japanese and live in IL, they sure love seaweed like they have been eating it all of their lives. When we receive it, it doesn’t last long. In fact, half the stash is gone already. I know you might think yuck, but it is quite tasty.
Here are a few items my parents brought down for us that I thought I would share.
Ramune – Japanese Soda (not all of their soda looks like this)
This bottle has a clear marble stopper at the top.
This is the “thingy” you use to push the marble down. I don’t know what else to call it.
See the marble in the center. Now the soda is ready to drink.
The rice cakes have a sweet red bean inside of them. The children do not care for this treat. Neither does my husband so I get this all to myself. I enjoy it with a nice cup of hot green tea. Sweet red bean is a common center for various treats in Japan. It sometimes can be mistaken for chocolate. I had friends who bit into a nice looking pastry only to be very disappointed that it had red bean inside.
The white outside is the rice dough (I guess that is what you would call it.) It is soft and chewy.
During New Years, it is a Japanese tradition to eat rice dough with hot sweet red bean poured on top. There is a ceremony where you put steamed rice into a large mortar and mallets are used to pound it until it is like dough.
My father-in-law insisted I eat black-eyed peas and cabbage for New Years, so I did, but I would rather stick to the Japanese New Year tradition. It tastes WAY better in my opinion!