If there’s one thing that everyone knows about me, it’s that I love sweets. Especially Japanese sweets…I never get tired of them! Dango are one of the most classic treats and have a long history in Japan. They’re made out of mochi (pounded glutinous rice) that is rolled into balls and lined up on bamboo skewers. The dango are then coated in some kind of topping, usually either anko (sweet red bean paste), kinako (roasted soy bean flour), or mitarashi sauce (a sweet soy sauce glaze).
You can buy dango at pretty much any supermarket in Japan these days, but the quality can vary and they may use chemicals to keep them soft. (Real dango will get rock hard by the end of the day, so make sure you eat them fresh!) I found these dango at a nearby farmers’ market. They were being sold by an old man who had pounded the rice himself that morning and was rolling them into balls right there in front of us. They’re far pricier than the ready-made dango, but there is a huge difference. The mochi was incredibly soft and the variety of flavours that he had was really impressive.
Along with the classic three flavours that I mentioned above, I also bought three more: one coated in white bean paste flavored with green tea, one with yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), and another topped with mitarashi and goma (ground black sesame seeds mixed with the sweet mitarashi soy sauce syrup). If you ever come across fresh handmade dango, get some! Pure awesomeness.