Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Day sixteen: Monaka / 最中

Toraya, ¥157

Like little Victorian ladies, monaka are prim, plump, and quite delicate. They consist of two incredibly thin rice wafers that are baked to a crisp in an iron mold, then glued together with a dollop of very sweet, very stiff bean paste (in this instance, shiroan, made from white beans).

Monaka are one of the few Japanese sweets that I would rather look at than eat. I love the idea of them, of a tiny, sculpted box of delights—like kōgō (tiny sculpted boxes for incense), only edible. But faced with an actual monaka I inevitably think of those Styrofoam clamshell boxes, and half-expect each plum blossom or chrysanthemum to contain a miniature burger.

No comments: