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Wagashi, Exquisite Japanese Gems


14 April 2020

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Wagashi, Exquisite Japanese Gems


Wagashi is another Japanese artistry and creativity expressed through food.  Wagashi reflects Japanese love for poetry and beauty, respect for nature, as well as culinary discipline.

Wagashi refers to traditional Japanese sweets.  “Wa” stands for things Japanese and “gashi” means confection.  Although ancient Japan had their own version of sweets, wagashi have also been influenced by the Chinese and the Portuguese.  Today, this exquisite Japanese confection has captured the attention of many food lovers.  It is believed that to partake wagashi is to awaken all of the five senses.

Sight.  What blows one’s mind away is the visual appeal of each wagashi piece.  They are like little gems that captivate and inspire one’s imagination.  Much thought and effort are placed into each piece so that their shapes, colours, and designs illustrate Japanese poetry, painting, and season.

Scent.  Wagashi are made from natural plant ingredients so their scent is delicate and does not overpower the beverage they are served with.  Wagashi is commonly served with Japanese green tea.

Taste.  Wagashi are made mainly from plant products hence they have a fresh and subtle taste.  Naturally, they are rich in fiber and other essential nutrients so they’re good for one’s health, too.  Red and white azuki beans are one of the main ingredients in making wagashi.  Another ingredient is called kanten.  It is a type of gelatine made from seaweed.  Wasambonto, also an important ingredient, is a traditional form of powdery sugar that has undergone a meticulous refining process.  Other ingredients, such as sesame seeds and yam, are also used.

Texture.  Wagashi are fashioned into various forms – cakes, buns, wafers, and moulded dry pieces.  Thus, one can appreciate wagashi’s moistness, softness, and crispness.  All these textures are also meant to reflect the freshness and quality of wagashi.

Sound.  Wagashi attain their names from classical Japanese poetry and time of year.  When these names are spoken aloud, they are supposed to stir up delightful images.

This Japanese dish may be delicate, yet it can certainly captivate one’s entire senses.  Without a doubt, partaking of wagashi becomes an extraordinary encounter.  You simply must try it!

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