The winter in Japan is truly a magical experience. While it’s chilly and snowing outside, inside, it’s kotatsu (a low table with a heater underneath) and hot bath season, and the perfect time to try out some winter delicacies. There’s nothing like sitting down with a book and some fresh oranges or a bowl of steaming hot oden (Japanese fishcake stew).
Japan has a handful of incredible winter food specialties– read on to learn about them and choose your favorite to indulge in.
1. Christmas cake
What may be the perfect winter treat of all, the Japanese Christmas Cake is an absolute work of art. Made from fluffy layers of a light vanilla sponge cake, this cake is filled with lightly sweetened whipped cream and strawberries.
Why it’s eaten at Christmas is something of a mystery. It was originally marketed as a Christmas cake due to the colors, but otherwise has little connection to Western Christmas celebrations.
You can even get Christmas cakes in different sizes, shapes and flavors. The key to Christmas cake is that it’s at least a little dressed up in a winter motif. Get yours for the holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
They can be ordered from grocery stores, convenience stores, and bakeries. But act fast—after Christmas, they are impossible to find.
2. Mikan (Mandarin orange)
If you’re looking for a little more fruit and a little less cake, grab yourself a few mikan (a type of Mandarin orange). Small, easy to peel and with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, this little fruit is the Asian answer to the traditional Christmas orange in Western countries.
There is nothing better than a little citrus to brighten a cold winter’s day, so look for these beauties in the grocery store throughout December and January to satisfy your sweet tooth.
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