Sakura season is here and alongside the weather warming up, there are hanami parties to look forward to, as well as a lot of yummy, sakura food.
Sakura, cherry blossoms, are the national flower of Japan and they don’t only look good, they taste good to!
Described as flowery sweet, sakura have a soft cherry taste that goes well with a lot of different food. Here are some of the traditional foods you can try to satisfy your sakura tooth.
The leaves of the cherry blossoms are preserved in salt and used as wrappers for this traditional wagashi (sweet). Soft moshi (pounded rice cakes) filled with bean paste are nicely tied together with edible sakura leaves for a seasonal treat.
These sweet buns mix red bean and sakura leaves to make their filling extra special. Or they might simply come with a flower on top. Either way, pretty AND yummy.
If we tell you that everything gets the sakura treatment, we mean it. If you thought only desserts got to be pink for spring, let us introduce you to Sakura Gohan: rice cooked with a few salted blossoms and dashi stock. Sure beats plain old white rice.
Meaning “flower viewing dango,” Hanami Dango offers the best of three seasons. Three dumplings on a stick, it consists of an unflavoured dumpling (white, for the snow of winter), a sakura flavoured one (pink, for spring) and a matcha flavoured little ball of love (green, for the grass of summer).
Rice balls made with blossoms? Yes please! Whilst they sound simple, Sakura Onigiri are actually made by steeping salted sakura in water and then cooking the rice with it.
Take your Onigiri rice and use it as a filling for Inarizushi. These sweetened, deep fried tofu delicacies can be enjoyed all year round but to have them with sakura rice makes them that little bit more exciting.
If you like jelly, this might be your new favourite thing. Yokan is a traditional dessert and adding sakura to the bean paste mixture makes this gelatinous wagashi a real treat.
Sakura-Yu or Sakura Cha
Cherry blossoms’ tea is made from pickled blossoms and is somewhat salty. Or, for a completely hassle-free spring beverage, you can add some blossoms to your matcha green tea.
Everything is made better by adding sakura!
About the author:
Sarah Kante is a culture and entertainment writer with over a decade of experience. Her passion for travel has led her to explore the world extensively, from Europe to the Pacific, Asia to the USA. When she isn’t on the road, checking out cultural events or writing, you can find her in the kitchen, trying to master recipes from all over the world. When she has the time, she also writes a travel blog, Sarah Does Travel Writing.