Shiratama Dango, a Japanese confection

Every year when I get together with extended family on New Years and in August, my uncle brings this shiratama dango, as dessert and special take-home gift for everyone. Shiratama dango is sweet rice flour dumplings filled with anko, or sweet red bean paste. I didn’t like it when I was little, I think because it wasn’t sweet enough for me, and they were often dry on the days we ate it (since I didn’t really like it, I wouldn’t have it as dessert but would have it the next day), which made it dry. The expiration date is set on the day you buy it anyway, so it was my fault to begin with. But as I grew up, I learned to like this not-too-sweet dessert, and I actually love it!

The other day, I went to Ginza with my dad to the Apple Store, and while we waited for a 30 minute service that we asked for, we wandered around the area to kill some time. I don’t go to Ginza too often so I just followed my dad who headed to a small store called, Akebono, which sells many confectionery desserts, and also snacks like rice crackers. They have seasonal desserts, too (now that I see them on the website)–I must try them. My sweet-tooth dad, of course, bought these shiratama dango to take home.

The rice flour part was so soft and the filling, tsubuan (not fully pasted red beans) we chose, as opposed to koshian (fully pasted), had just the right sweetness. I really like the full red beans that are on the outer layer, too. Those beans on the outside are not as sweet as the filling and that makes a perfect balance of the whole dessert.

In picture, served with hojicha, a type of non-caffeinated tea.

Akebono website:

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