Recent posts

Nakamise Shopping Street @ Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

11:46 AM , , 1 Comments

One of the most unassuming packages ever received. The friend was most reluctant to part with it, especially so after he queued almost an hour for them.

Say moshi-moshi to these carefully wrapped Ningoyaki. These are Japanese snacks with red bean jam within (anko). These were found outside Sensoji Temple, handmade and very patiently wrapped on the spot. To think I actually thought they were pre-made.

Some history about this not entirely Japanese confection, rather it's a marriage of East and West.

Go back to 300 b.c., there was sponge cake called "Castellia Boro" in Castellia, Spain. This Castellia Boro was introduced to Japan by Portugues missionary around mid 15th century. It was soon became popular cake in Osaka and Tokyo bit later. However, wheat flour and egg were still expensive foodstuffs in Japan because of poor productive technics. When the productive technics was gradually getting higher around late Edo period, Edo town food culture was highly flourised. Castellia boro lately called "Castella" also widespreaded to Edo town people.(Source:

Sweet dense sponge cake with smooth red bean jam. The first few morsels were ordinary but when eaten days later, I was most impressed with how well the taste was preserved. Sponge cake remained the same even days later.

Fast forward a couple of months...I was at Nakamise Shopping Street to suss out the yummy.

DSC_0672 (2)

Sensoji temple that is both a tourist attraction and place of worship for Buddhists. It's Tokyo's oldest temple and within the same compound, there is also Asakusa Shrine.

Then of course, there's a street 250 metres long that providers shoppers with more reason to visit Sensoji Temple. Lined with stalls selling food, ornaments and trinklets, the street is usually packed with people.

We were on a mission to try out the signatures of the lane!

DSC_0695 (2)

Ningoyaki bakers like the guy above are a dime too many along the street.

DSC_0688 (2)

Located strategically outside the temple doors, queues started to form for these fritters..and join the queue, we did!

DSC_0686 (2)

Boxes of these fritters were snapped up so fast.

DSC_0691 (2)

The supposed original flavour fritter.

DSC_0693 (2)

Which turned out to be pumpkin filling instead of red bean. A different kind of batter, instead of the expected mochi, it was actually sponge cake. Interesting with the crispy batter outter layer.

DSC_0705 (2)

This particular store probably paid premium for its stellar location, right smack outside the temple.

DSC_0707 (2)

Every other shop seems to have a queue or at least curious onlookers pondering what to buy.

DSC_0709 (2)

Ningoyaki made on the spot...

DSC_0708 (2)

Packed in boxes for gifting.

DSC_0711 (2)

6 freshly made for 600 Yen, these pagoda-bell-shrine shaped ningoyaki tasted really good fresh off the oven!

DSC_0726 (2)

Packs of nut biscuits which we could barely resist too. Sprinkled with nuts, this crunchy snack made just snack junkies.

DSC_0704 (2)

Senbei! I supposed Want Want Rice crackers drew inspiration from these. There are two main stores selling them, this is more popular of the two. Sold in 8 pieces at least, they would not budge on individual pieces nor sampling.

DSC_0716 (2)

A mix and match of 10 pcs of their two best selling flavours.

DSC_0720 (2)

Black pepper and original (shaped like a star!), the original tasted better. These packed a whole lot more crunch than prepacked rice crackers.

DSC_0698 (2)

The other store that garnered most attention because of they are made on the spot and sold individually!

DSC_0701 (2)

Lightly brushed with shoyu, this was not as good as the first. Thinner and just a fresher version of the prepacked rice crackers. Priced at 100 Yen each, effectively this was the same price as the other though psychologically it seems cheaper.

I wish I had more time to venture into the lil shops and suss out more but...I shall leave that to the next time I score a visit to Japan again.

Nakamise Street

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

1 comment: