Anmitsu is one of Japan’s favorite desserts. It’s made with agar gelatin, sweet bean paste, and black sugar syrup, or kanten, anko and kuromitsu, to use the star ingredients’ Japanese names, and so popular that you can find it in traditional sweets shops and cafes across the country.
But once upon a time, there was only one place to get anmitsu: Wakamatsu, a restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood. Wakamatsu opened in 1894, and in 1930 they created the recipe for anmitsu, becoming the birthplace of the dessert. And you know what? Nearly a century later, you can still get anmitsu at Wakamatsu, because the restaurant is still in business!
Thinking about all this had our anmitsu cravings spiking, so we hopped on the subway and headed over to Ginza. As we walked out of the station and up to the street, we checked the restaurant’s address on our phone, and when we got there…
…it was the Prada shop?
Huh. We checked the map on our phone, and we seemed to be in the right space, but all we could see was Italian fashion, not Japanese desserts. Then we noticed an entryway next to Prada’s front door, though…
…and that’s how you get to Wakamatsu.
OK, so the neighborhood has definitely become more global and modernized in the 129 years that Wakamatsu has been in business. The restaurant itself, though, still has an old-school Japanese look and feel to it, right down to the plastic model in the show window for the “Original Anmitsu.”
As you can see from the model, while anmitsu always has kanten, anko, and kuromitsu, it’s usually accompanied by other tasty things as well, such as fruit slices and sweet red beans. After looking over the menu and weighing our options, we decided on the cream shiratama anmitsu, which adds a scoop of vanilla ice cream and shiratama mochi dumplings, for 1,250 yen.
It was pretty as a picture, and as a special touch there’s a piece of yokan (sweet red bean gelatin) in the shape used to represent pine trees in classical Japanese art, since Wakamatsu means “young pine.”
The brown sugar syrup is served on the side, so we started by pouring it on.
For our first bite, we chose a spoonful of kanten cubes. Their enticing firmness gives way to a bursting sensation of sweetness, and our dessert session was off to a great start,
Next we went for a spoonful of sweet beans and ice cream. The smooth texture and earthy sweetness of the beans mixed with the creamy milky sweetness of the vanilla ice cream, and our taste buds were once again in heaven, but in a different way from our first bite.
So yeah, after eating Wakamatsu’s anmitsu, we can totally see why they’re still in business after all these years, and if you haven’t tried animitsu yet, there’s no better place to eat it for the first time than the place where it was eaten for the first time.
Wakamatsu / 若松
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-8-20 Core Building 1st floor
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
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