This week’s post is on one of Hiroshima’s famous foods, momiji manju! Momiji is the Japanese word for maple leaves, and is Hiroshima’s Prefectural “flower”. Manju is the general word for a sweet that is a castella-like outside with a cream or paste on the inside. The most popular type of filling for manju is usually koshian style anko, or red bean paste mashed through a sieve so the paste is a smooth consistency.
On arrival to Miyajima and checking into our traditional Japanese inn, we received several momiji manju along with green tea. I have to say… well, they aren’t my favorite (laughs). A lot of famous Japanese sweets I think actually aren’t that good, but they’re famous so everyone buys them.
Luckily, I found a way I DO like them… deep fried! Aww yeah, my Southern’s showing! Hot from the frying oil is definitely the way to enjoy these sweets!
You can enjoy momiji manju anywhere in Hiroshima; indeed, even my local grocery store here in Gunma sells “Hiroshima-style manju”. The fried kind, however, might just be a local Miyajima specialty. If you land on Miyajima, just follow your nose – and the crowds – to the fried manju stand. There are multiple places to buy the regular kind as well, and try all the different fillings. Take your pick and find your favorite!
(You can see a youtube video on how the manju are made here.)