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Monday, February 18, 2013

Kumamoto Purple Sweet Potato Dumplings

紫いもまんじゅう 熊本

One of Kumamoto's most beautiful sightseeing spots is Suizenji Jojuen Garden. Lining the street leading up to the entrance to the Suizenji Garden are rows of stores selling souvenirs, convenience goods, and food.

Kumamoto purple sweet potato dumplings

One of the tastiest specialties on sale are these Kumamoto-only purple sweet potato dumplings or, in Japanese, murasaki-imo manju. While purple sweet potatoes are not uncommon in Asia, they are not seen that much throughout most of Japan. However, Kumomoto prefecture makes them something of a feature of its cuisine.

Like any dumpling in Japan, purple sweet potato dumplings have a soft, chewy texture. However, the sweet potato adds a savory depth that remains in the palate after you have finally masticated and swallowed the delightfully warm, glutinous mass.

And at just 85 yen (about 90 U.S.  cents), they are plenty affordable enough to follow that first one up with at least one more.

Finally, when you live your life here in Tokyo, being reminded of the friendliness of the folks in Kumamoto and the rest of Kyushu is pleasant - the cheery woman at this stall in particular.

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