We continue to learn about and add information to our blog pages on traditions of gift giving in other cultures. For this post, we focus on Japanese gift giving traditions or “Omiyage”.
An article by Evelyn Iritani on Japanese Omiyage (Huffington Post Zester Daily: The culture of food and drink) provides great insight to this Japanese tradition that food lovers from ALL cultures can embrace. Excerpt:
Omiyage is the tradition of gift-giving that permeates Japanese culture. Holiday celebrations. Business meetings. Travel abroad. The Japanese are a nation of gift-givers, and their stores are filled with exquisitely wrapped mementos of all shapes and sizes. You can give someone a bottle of expensive liquor, four individually wrapped apples or a beautiful box of mochi or manju, the chewy rice cakes filled with sweet bean paste. Read the full article, here….
Have you had Japanese mochi or manju?
Many years ago, my younger sister and I stumbled into a tiny mochi store while in San Francisco’s Japantown area. The mochis were a work of art… and heavenly to eat.
Of course having grown up in the Philippines, we are accustomed to rice flour-based and sweet bean (or yam) desserts, and instantly loved Japanese mochis — but they may not be to everyone’s liking.
The bakery — Benkyodo Company — is still operating, and all mochi / manju are made fresh daily.
The Benkyodo bakery celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2006 — and it is still much-loved — with over 600 yelp reviews averaging 4.5 stars! If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, the shop is located on the corner of Sutter and Buchanan in San Francisco’s Japantown.
There are also spots in San Jose’s Japantown that we plan to check out…have you eaten manju from Shuei-Do at 217 Jackson Street in San Jose? The Japantown San Jose website posted the following information:
Manju are a Japanese delicacy. They come in all forms and colors, shapes and sizes. Some are baked, some put on sticks, some are made with sweet rice (mochi) and some made with rice powder. They are often filled with a sweet bean paste called “an”. Shuei-do was honored to have their manju served to the Emperor of Japan on their last visit to the United States.
- Wines from Japan
- A bottle of olive oil…gift giving traditions
- Coffee Gifts / Coffee Gift Bags
- Native Leaf’s natural fiber gift packaging for your carefully chosen gifts and a special gift container for your mochi