Famous Japanese Sweet Treats

The Japanese are known for their healthy meals normally served in small portions. But much like other nationalities, they also indulge in sweets. And they’re not just eaten after meals because they’re also popular as snacks that can be eaten any time.

Japanese sweets were originally called kashi or gashi which referred to the nuts and fruits used in making them.

wagashi

Japan has various traditional and modern sweets. The traditional ones are known as wagashi usually made from plant ingredients and served with tea. Many use red bean paste as the main ingredient.

The word wagashi was first used during the Meiji period from 1868 to 1912. Such term was used to make it different from the word confectionery used in the Western countries. Japan’s three main categories of sweets are togashi, tenjin and nanban-gashi.

Interestingly, some of these confectionery have been closely associated with yearly celebrations. The hishi-mochi, for example, is a famous fixture of the Doll Festival every March while the kashiwa-mochi and chimaki are served during the Boy’s Festival every May.

It’s also worth noting that Japanese desserts are created with aesthetics in mind and are well plated to make them enticing.

Namagashi

This is a type of traditional dessert used in the tea ceremony. It may contain gelatines such as Kanten or the sweetened bean paste as well as fruit jellies.

Namagashi is prepared in such a way that should be pleasing to look at.

Mochi

Mochi is a rice cake that comes in different types. The regular one has a filling which can be made of ice cream.

A popular type is the pink colored Sakuramochi which contains a red bean paste as filling. It is covered with a leaf of sakura or the cherry blossom and is eaten to celebrate Hinamatsuri or girl’s day in Japan every third of March.

The Warabimochi is another kind of mochi. This one, however, is jelly-like and made from bracken starch. It is also covered with sweet toasted soybean flour or what’s known as kinako.

The Kashiwa mochi is also a member of the mochi family. It is chewy and wrapped in kashiwa or the oak leaf although other types of leaves may be used (yomogi). It’s a seasonal dessert usually available in May.

Daifuku

This is a glutinous rice cake with a sweet filling. The most common filling for this dessert is the so-called anko or the sweetened red bean paste. The paste is normally made from azuki beans.

Uiro

This is a traditional steam cake served in bite size. It’s chewy, not so sweet and made in various flavors. Its main ingredients are rice flour and sugar.

Popular flavors of this dessert are chestnut, strawberry, green tea and sakura.

The Japanese love to celebrate special occasions and food including sweets is always a major part of it. Despite the challenges their country face, the people in Japan continue with their lives and remain united ready to defend their mother country from critics.

About the guest author:

Tania is a freelance blogger passionate about everything Japanese. Her posts cover lifestyle, food and entertainment including the Nanking massacre movie based on the wartime event being blamed by the Chinese on the Japanese Imperial Army.

Healthy Snacks for Kids

To lead a healthy lifestyle is the mantra of many people today. As such, we see more individuals, couples and families engage in a regular exercise routine and a barrage of information on multimedia about healthy food, recipes and useful tips.

A growing number of parents with small children is also pursuing the same path. With obesity still a major issue among growing kids these days, many moms and dads are concerned about the food their children eat as well as their physical activities. They make sure to prepare meals and snacks using only healthy ingredients so their children get the proper nutrients every day.

healthy snacks for kids

If you’re looking for healthy snacks for your kids without having to worry about calories, you can go back to the very basics. They don’t have to be too complicated. Read more »

Sharing the Food You Eat on Social Media – Should You Really?

It is now a well-known phenomena how people seem to be obligated to share what they eat on social media. What used to be the  traditionally private activity of eating has become a major spectacle for many, at least for themselves. What is behind all this public sharing of food being eaten even on daily basis for some? The most important question is – should we really do it?

With the way in which some people do this kind of sharing, one would be tempted to ask if this has become the new norm for social media news. It is interesting to note that images and messages about food and drinks comprise a big percentage of online shares. Let us try to explore the possibilities here.

Genuine Desire to Share or Boast

Human beings by nature share their good experiences as well as the bad. With the advent of social media platforms that make it possible to share thoughts, opinions, and experiences instantaneously, sharing of dining experiences was bound to happen. The behavior of many over-active sharers over social media of what they eat borders on the very thin line that separates genuine sharing and offensive boasting.

It is quite understandable to share extraordinary dining experiences and food finds over social media. Giving a blow-by-blow account of what you eat for about 3-5 times per day(including snacks) can be very tiring to an unwilling audience. Doing it just to show off is clearly in bad taste.

Doing a Job or Treating Eating as a Job

There is a big difference in taking pictures of food and sharing over social media to perform a job requirement and treating eating as a job in its entirety. Those who genuinely enjoy the art of food photography and has a job related to it is fortunate because they enjoy doing it. How about those who treat eating as a job to the extent that they cannot eat anything without taking pictures of the food and then sharing them over social media without exception?

It has been observed that the latter actually takes away the joy in eating. When the occasional desire to share something wonderful as good food is replaced by the pressure to share because it is the trend, there is something terribly wrong in the picture. Remember that food is meant to be enjoyed and having to make them public every time can be very stressful. The next time you automatically reach for your camera when eating, stop yourself and ask – should you really?

What You Should Eat Before a Marathon

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With so many marathons lined up such as the Yuengling Shamrock Sportsfest Marathon in Virginia Beach or the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon, there is bound to be at least one that you might want to take part in. Unlike professional runners, we have to put more thought into how we nourish our bodies prior to any bouts of physical exertion. If you’re thinking of running a marathon or are about to run one in a week or two, here’s what you should be eating. Read more »

Where Would You Put a Bar?

We all know how fun bars are, somewhere where we can kick back and forget about the troubles that the day has brought but that is not the only thing that bars can bring us. Bars make great places to socialise, meet new people, discuss important issues and even hold meetings for clubs, societies and even local meetings for parishes and council members meeting people from their electoral area. Bars are a very important part of culture in the UK and have been for many years, but where is the best place to put a bar?

Under The stars

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People like a nice pint of cider on a summer’s night and they love to continue those few drinks into the evening. Having a bar in your back garden is a great novelty especially during the summer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well in the winter when the wind and rain ruin the still, enjoyable atmosphere of the long summer evenings. Having the option of having a fire as you watch the summer sun go down as you sip on your favourite cocktail is a luxury only a few can do but those that can do it really enjoy it. Having an outdoor bar is something that only a few houses have, but those houses are always the life of the party. Read more »

Funny Comic Strips on Food and Dining

Well thought of comic strips, regardless of where they are published, often brings a smile or laughter from readers. They provide some stress relief in one’s busy day.

Despite the fact that there’s little text and mostly illustration, comic books are still good reading materials. Similar to books, they can also be considered as food for the mind.

Comics about food and dining are one of the most read owing to the antics they share that people can often relate to. They can be found online on various websites, in newspapers as well as magazines circulated worldwide. Sometimes, they may be published in cookbooks or in newsletters. Online, fans can purchase their Kickstarter comics from the Forevergeek store.

Berger & Wyse

This is names after the real creators Joe Berger and Pascal Wyse. Their comic strip used to appear regularly in the weekend magazine of The Guardian. Read more »

3 Reasons Why Sweden Is Urging Citizens to Cut Carbs and Eat More Fat

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Sweden has gone against the grain of 40 years’ worth of Western nutritional advice, which told us that fat was bad and we should minimize its intake as much as possible. The sleek Scandinavian nation is recommending to its citizens that they institute a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.

While such diets (also known as ketogenic diets) have become increasingly popular among athletes in recent years, Sweden is the first country to endorse such a diet officially for its populace. It came to that conclusion after spending two years poring over more than 16,000 studies related to diet and nutrition.

The exhaustive study revealed three key elements of such diets that make them superior to traditional eating habits, and why they can actually promote weight loss in individuals, despite an increased intake of fat. Here are those reasons. Read more »

Five Food Items You’ll Need to be Physically Fit

Food wise, it doesn’t actually need to be quite complicated when one seeks to be physically fit. It does require one though to be wiser when it comes to food choices in terms of quality, quantity, and how they are served. You can achieve physical fitness with the right amount of physical activity and no-nonsense simple food choices such as these five.

Apple

apple

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What could be simpler than an apple which can be eaten straight from its tree without any need for cooking? If there is one fruit that is so common and easy to get while being generally acceptable to human taste buds, then that would be the apple. You can always use it as a cooking ingredient or a fresh fruit drink.

Broccoli

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Broccoli may be one of the vegetables that most children would rather avoid. However, lightly steamed broccoli is able to provide the greatest health benefits  in facilitating protection against cancer because of a specific enzyme. Overcooking it destroys such enzyme.

Oatmeal

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Daily intake of oatmeal effectively brings down cholesterol level. It is very simple to cook and can be consumed with or without any combination of preferred fruits or nuts, and is widely acceptable to most children and adults. It is able to offer considerable health benefits because of the various vitamins and minerals that come with it.

Fish

salmon

 

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Oily fishes  such as salmon or sardines are good in terms of expected health benefits. Fishes that contain omega 3 are suitable to include in low fat diets. Most oily fishes also contain the highly beneficial vitamins A and D.

Almonds

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Contrary to the common misconception that nuts are bad for the health, almonds are considered very healthy for regular human consumption. Being high in monounsaturated fats, it helps in reducing the risk of heart disease. It is considered a nutritionally-dense nut.

Weight Loss Benefit

All of the above do not only help in disease prevention. They are also compatible with weight loss goals related to attaining optimum physical fitness. No one will go wrong with these 5 with moderate intake of other food items that are best sourced naturally and are not of the artificially processed variety. There are other healthy food choices. The important thing is to find the ones that you will enjoy taking.

About the author

Ashley Porter is a professional blogger that shares fitness and nutrition tips. She writes for Fitness19.com, an affordable fitness center with locations nationwide.

Top Sauces for Asian Cuisine

asian cuisine sauces

Asian cuisine is popular worldwide that hotels, resorts and restaurants offer them to their guests. They’re bursting with various flavors and most are well known to be hot and spicy.

But did you know what makes any Asian food stand out from the rest? It’s the sauce that is served along with the dish. Most dry Asian food have this and it’s time you get to know what these are and what they’re made of.

Brown Sauce

The brown sauce is the most basic and common in Chinese cuisine but it is also used in other Asian food. Normally, this is made from soy sauce or oyster sauce. Other ingredients that may be added are beef broth, corn starch, ketchup, potato flour and Hoisin sauce.

Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and wheat. It has a mild salty flavor and can be mixed with sugar to achieve a sweeter flavor. Read more »

Choosing a Thai School that Offers the Best Culinary Courses

cooking class in thailand

Thai cuisine is well known worldwide as healthy and spicy. It’s offered in numerous restaurants in major cities around the globe and a growing number of chefs and even foodies are eager to learn the ways to cook Thai food.

But while learning Thai cooking is possible in one’s own country or online via the video tutorials, Thailand is still the best place to learn how to cook authentic Thai dishes. Depending on your destination, there are many small and major culinary schools in the country today that offer short courses. Whether you’re a visitor who simply wants to enjoy a fun cooking experience or a professional chef, you have every opportunity to fulfill your goals.

Each course normally teaches four Thai dishes. Students are taught about the most common ingredients including the vegetables, herbs and spices and the methods of cooking the local food. Read more »

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