Last night, the Fiery One and I went out with a couple of friends for traditional japanese cuisine. The Fiery One is not usually drawn to desserts, but he was feeling adventurous and decided to order from the "Dezato" portion of the menu. Never having heard of daifuku, he ordered it to feed his curiosity. When it arrived, the four of us were quite taken with its appearance and texture. There were three separate pod-like lumps whose outsides appeared to have a very human-like skin. The three flavours were: coconut (yellow), peanut (green?!), and red bean (fresh organ meat pink). The red bean (also known as "anko") daifuku, had an opaque skin, and a dark red shape showed eerily through it, reminding me of what I think a baby's liver must look like. The Fiery One was an excellent sport when the dish arrived, because he allowed and even invited us to poke at it with our fingers. This was fascinating. Because it was served hot and its skin was soft and flexible, we quickly devolved into our former grade-school selves, comparing the pods to fresh alien organs or succulent baby meat. The coolest thing about this wagashi (japanese sweets) was its ability to self-repair. The Fiery One would pull some of it off the main pod with his fork, and if he didn't immediately pull the portion away, it would glue itself back together with its parent. Unfortunately, I did not partake of this daifuku, because I was so taken with the looking and the touching that I neglected the use of my other senses.
* Daifuku is made with sweet rice flour, sugar, boiling water, and a variety of fillings, such as red bean, coconut, coffee, etc.
* The traditional japanese meal does not include any dessert. Japanese cakes are generally eaten during parties and tea time.
* The original meaning of daifuku was "big fortune".
* The cat in the green and blue jumpsuit is named Daifuku, and she should stop looking inside the washing machine already!
* Japanese sweets originated in the Yayoi Era (200 B.C.-200 A.D). This is also the time when rice cultivation began in Japan.
* The names yogashi (Western-style sweets) and wagashi (Japanese sweets) were adopted into the Japanese language in the Meiji Era (1868-1912).
* In Japan, about 16% of all sweets sold represent perishable wagashi.
* In the 17th century, the Chinese brought sugar and bean-filled wheat cakes (known as Manju), along with the cake-making know-how of mixing the flour with water and steaming or baking the dough. Japan embraced the idea of bean filled sweets and began making their own versions of these pastries.