Marukita Confectionery's Marukita-yaki
As people may know from the popular comic "Golden Kamuy", the 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, also called the Hokuchin Corps, moved to Asahikawa in 1901. "Kashidokoro Marukita" was founded two years later in 1903.
At this "Confectionery Marukita", the traditional popular product is the "Chinese Manju”.
The variety of manju we are speaking about here is called Chinese manju or yaki-manju.
It is a crescent shaped confection of pancake like sponge cake filled with adzuki red beans.
In the olden days, people often received these manju as presents for funerals and ceremonies, so they used to call it a funeral manju. In the old days, the manju were sold in a wooden or paper vanity case, but we haven’t saw those package for a while.
"Marukita-yaki" "Original Chinese Manju" is written on the package.
Our reporter noticed that the chinese Manju he just bought looked smaller than the one he ate as a child. The red bean paste inside was also packed more tightly. But if you eat it alone, as a snack, this size is perfect.
This time, our reporter bought this "Marukita-yaki" at the souvenir shop "AMO BASE" in the JR Asahikawa Station. In "AMO BASE," there are other special products and specialties of Hokkaido and Asahikawa.
Store: AMO BASE
Address: Asahikawa-shi Miyashitadōri 8-chōme 3 JR Asahikawa
Business hours: 7: 00-20: 00
Kitakari Asahikawa's Karinto
Karintō is a traditional Japanese snack food. Sweet and deep-fried, it is made primarily of flour, yeast, and brown sugar. It has a deep brown and pitted appearance, and takes the form of a bite-sized pillow or short cylinder. Although traditional karintō is coated with brown sugar, recently other variations appear in the market, such as white sugar, sesame seeds, miso, or peanuts.
Now known as “Kitakari,” the Mitsuba Confectionery was founded in 1931.
Karinto are also sold at supermarkets and convenience stores, but "Kitakari" karinto is characterized by its simple taste, made with the traditional recipe and Hokkaido’s wheat flour and beet sugar.
There are various types of karinto in the main store of Nagayama 3 Jo 4-chome, but our writer went for a nostalgic trip and bought the “traditional hard karinto"!
Now that you think about it, the old Karinto were bigger and much harder than it is now.
It's so hard that our writer thought his teeth were about to break when he took a bite!
The generation who feel nostalgic about this snack may already have weak teeth like himself.
Be careful when eating the karinto, but it is a sweet that you should definitely try. Softer versions are also available if you have weak teeth.
Store name: Kitakari Asahikawa Main Store
Address: Asahikawa-shi Nagayama 3-jō 4-chōme 1 - 5
Business hours: 10:00 - 19:00
Regular holiday: New Year holidays
Parking lot: Yes
Roba Kashitsukasa's Azu-chan Kabo-chan
Roba Kashitsukasa, the head of the "The Sun Kurodo," "Viva Roba," and "L'hotel de Kitakurabu” brands, was founded in 1945. A long time ago, our writer’s uncle worked there, so it's a candy store that he is particularly familiar with.
Our reporter went to "The Sun Kurodo" on the Platanus Street in Kaguraoka.
Here are "Azu-chan and Kabo-chan”, which has been popular since its release in 1977.
Azu-chan - Adzuki red bean
Kabo-chan - Kabocha means pumpkin
Roba (as for “Viva Roba” and Roba “Kashitsukasa”) means Donkey
"Azu-chan Kabo-chan“ is sold in a box of 8 snacks (4 pieces each), or separately, or in a set of 3 as shown in the picture. It is at 387 yen including tax, making a good souvenir.
The moist, butter-flavored castella and the red bean paste are in harmony. It’s been years and years since our writer ate this.
It made our reporter nostalgic to see his snack wrapped in aluminum foil.
Name: The Sun Kurodo
Address: Asahikawa-shi Kaguraoka 8-jō 1-chōme 1 - 9
Business hours: 8:00 - 19:00
Regular holiday: Open every day
Parking lot: Yes
In this second article about the local sweets well-liked for a long time, we introduced the original Chinese manju "Marukita-yaki", the traditional hard "Jumbo Karintou", and the cute "Azu-chan Kabo-chan“. These packaged snacks make great souvenirs and give you a taste of the Showa Era (1926-1989).
Translated from Tora’s article.