January 18, 2016

長岡、川西屋本店の酒饅頭/Saka Manju at Kawanishi Ya Honten, Nagaoka

According to this page of the website of Kawanishi Ya Honten, these saka manju (shio azuki or salted azuki) take three hours to hand-make, one by one, in the traditionally way, by fermenting koji.

This particular brand of saka manju, which is special in that the azuki filling is not sweetened, was a favorite of Yamamoto Isoroku, who was native to this city.

According to this page of the website of Kawanishi Ya Honten, Yamamoto had the saka manju in the following special way:

Pour water in a donburi (large rice bowl) until it's 70% full, float blocks of snow (ice?) to cool the water, float a manju there. Leave it for a while, and the manju, which soaked up the cold water, becomes swollen and large to fill the donburi. Sprinkle sugar, and eat it by scooping with a large spoon.


In this YouTube video, you can see how Yamamoto had the manju. View the video at 0:50 and 1:36. This video is part of the movie produced in 2011.

Edited to add:
Yamamoto Isoroku called the saka manju eaten in this way "mizu manju" (mizu = water). Usually, mizu manju means manju made from kuzu ko (arrowroot powder) and an (bean jam).

Despite the fact described above, I had the manju in a usual way.


ErinBear said...

The saka manju looks delicious! Thank you for showing the photo and telling us about it.

Erin from California

Hiroyuki said...

ErinBear: Well, my wife and daughter said they'd prefer regular saka manju with sweeetened filling. As for me, I was more interested in the dough, because I want to make bread by using koji.

Anonymous said...

Looks very fluffy! It would be a shame to make it cold and soggy in water, right? I would love to understand his reasons for liking that particular way of eating it. This reminds me of the Swedish semla bun and how some people eat it in a bowl of milk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semla. By the way, I am not Swedish, but I really like the semla bun because of the combination of whipped cream and almond paste and cardamom spice.

Hiroyuki said...

Anonymous: Thanks for the information about semla. I didn't know anything about it, and it sounds very tasty! I'd like to have it some day.

Anyone would love to have saka manju nice and hot, and I have no idea why Yamamoto liked to have it in such a special way, except that he had a sweet tooth.