August 23, 2011

Dagashi (Cheap Sweets)/駄菓子

Today, my daughter got these dagashi free of charge when she participated in an event held at the garbage disposal facilities nearby.
Note: Koala's March (lower right corner) and Kappa Ebisen (bag with a shrimp picture printed on it) are usually not considered dagashi.
注: コアラのマーチ(右下)とかっぱえびせん(エビの絵が印刷された袋)は普通、駄菓子とは見なされません。

I have fond memories of dagashi, but sadly, I'm not familiar with any of the dagashi she was given, except the Baby Star Ramen.

I think Yawaraka (= Soft) Konnyaku Jelly (center of the photo) is a good idea. Because of the shape, it should be less risky in terms of choking. (I hope I am right.)


Sissi said...

Ha, ha, ha! Yes, I think you are right, these would be more difficult to choke on than the smaller konnyaku jellies. The konnyaku jellies I buy (or used to buy because sadly I don't see them any more) are too "liquid" to be kept in a plastic film. They are in plastic mini-containers, shaped like tears.
The dagashi look very exotic to me like every time when I visit the Japanese shop.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: My daughter put the Konnyaku Jelly in the freezer, like she usually does with jelly in small cups.

Exotic? You mean you don't have equivalents to dagashi in your country??

Kiki said...

Hiroyuki: I found this definition for dagashi, 駄菓子: cheap sweets/candies children buy with small allowance money. We have cheap sweets for children too as candy bars, jelly sweets but not konnyaku jellies. Children like to buy especially "Kinderüberraschung" = Children surprise. A cheap and awful sweet milk chocolade egg filled with a plastic container and a trashy toy inside
It is very hard to go shopping with smaller children passing these eggs without buying one. They are always displayed on shelves near the cash desk (as all the other small parcels of sweets/candies) and kids are used to start whining and begging getting on the nerves of their parents at this point. Therefor these special shelves got a nice name in german: Quengelregal = shelf which will make you whine.
We have the same Koala cookies but from a different producer (milk or chocolate flavour only).


Sissi said...

Yes, we do, but the Japanese ones look exotic, because 1) they are different 2) very often neither the shop assistant nor the translated label can tell you exactly what it is made of... Funny no?
And things such as azuki beans sweets, green tea sweets or (my favourite) a snack mix with small dried fish are really exotic!
I will try putting the cups next time in the freezer, thank you for the idea. (I often put the in the fridge, I noticed that they are really refreshing afterwards, but freezer sounds even better).

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Thanks for your description of the dagashi scene in your country! Seems like children are the same everywhere!

You will get different answers depending on whom you ask what dagashi are. For me, who was born in 1960, dagashi are cheap sweets (1 to 10 yen) that I bought at a dagashi-ya. My daily allowance was 10 yen then.

If you ask younger people, dagashi are cheap sweets (up to, say, 100 yen) that they buy at a supermarket or a conbini (convenience store).

And, there are completely different categories, traditional (and local) dagashi, like Sendai dagashi 仙台駄菓子.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Thanks for your clarification. Come to think of it, maybe we use more ingredients like octopus, squid, kombu, dried fish, and konnyaku to make dagashi.

Cheryl said...

We have Koalas March here in the US, along with Hello Panda. Hello Panda is somewhat easier to find. My favorite snack of that type is Pucca.

Baby Star is popular with my kids, but it's become harder to find here. I've found something similar, but it's not as good as Baby Star.

I've never given my kids the konnyaku jellies, but I remember them fondly from my own childhood. Like your daughter, I preferred to freeze them then eat them.

Cheap candies here in the US are things like chocolate bars (cost about $1), bubble gum, lollipops/suckers, tootsie rolls (a chewy chocolate flavored candy), hard candies and taffy. Gummy candy is popular, but is a little more expensive because it's sold in larger packages.

Hiroyuki said...

Cheryl: Thank for your comment.

I didn't know Koala's March, Baby Star Ramen, and other dagashi were exported to the United States. I knew that Kappa Ebisen is exported, though.

Oh, that reminds me. I know there are some fans of Pokky in the United States.

Cheryl said...

Pocky is quite popular here in California. It can be found in most of the larger grocery stores, right next to the Kappa Ebisen and Botan Ame.

Most of the Kappa Ebisen that are packaged for sale here in the US are made here. Calbee has a factory here in California I think.