Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kibi rakugan

Day fifty-nine: Kibi Rakugan

Nishiki, ¥200

Rakugan are pressed sweets made of sugar and starch, in this case a very fine flour of roasted millet that makes these little kibi rakugan taste toasty rather than merely dry. They came from a small shop in Tokyo's Yanaka neighborhood, one of the last areas of intact shitamachi (old downtown). The kibi rakugan were made in a wooden mold carved with images of mon, old-fashioned family crests, possibly the very mon of families once prominent in the neighborhood. Goods marked with mon are less and less in common these days; in fact the only other place I've seen so many was at the huge Yanaka cemetery, where racks of buckets for cleaning the family plots are differentiated by painted crests.

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