Yamagata #7: Ball-Shaped Konnyaku (玉こんにゃく)

Hey everyone! We’re in the middle of summer here in Japan, and temperatures in my little corner are reaching 37C/98F during the day, and sometimes higher! It is HOT! Today, I’m looking north a little to a popular food in Yamagata Prefecture called “tama konnyaku”. Actually, Gunma is famous for konnyaku too, but not the ball-shaped variety. This kind is shaped into balls and boiled in soy sauce and sugar. They can be found all around the prefecture, but at Yamadera Temple they are called “chikara konnyaku”, or “power konnyaku”, supposedly giving you enough energy to climb the many stairs up to Yamadera!

I find this ironic, as konnyaku has hardly any calories at all.

I visited Yamagata last spring, so this card wasn’t available at that time. I haven’t gotten it yet, but it’s on my “to buy” list! Here are some pictures I took in Yonezawa, Yamagata, and at Yamadera:

A tama konnyaku stand at Uesugi Shrine in Yonezawa, Yamagata

“Popular item! POWER konnyaku!” at Yamadera Temple, Yamagata

They weren’t bad tasting, actually!

And just for fun, a shot of Yamadera. I guess I made it up, so the power konnyaku really works! …maybe.

If you can find konnyaku (also called konjac and similar) at a grocery store, you can try making them using this recipe (and feel free to leave off the squid). Otherwise, hopefully you can visit Yamagata to try these yourself. Happy eating, and stay cool!

Edit 2015.11.13: I made it again to Yamadera in October, and took some new pictures with the card! Check it out:

Postcard, pot, and konnyaku, yum!

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