Okay, maybe not all of the items below considered to be summer snacks. We can find it all year around but, since it seem so cheerful I find it appropriate for summer too. Although, some of them maybe not quite pleasing for the eye for most people, I can guarantee they all taste good.
So, I’m strolling the alleys at Ameyoko market, Ueno, Tokyo. The day was still early, around 11 am. I was thirsty after circling the whole Ueno park since morning. I want to find cool beverages, other than the vending machine. Suddenly, my eyes caught these small charming tea store. They specialized in high quality green tea, that will cost you thousands Yen for a can of tea. No, I don’t want to spend so much money for tea. I’m interested in the sign that said “Matcha ice cream, 300 Yen”.
“Wooohooooo!” I said to my self. I’m thirsty, and a bit hungry too. Sampling traditional ice cream will be suitable. The traditional part was tagged by the merchant. He said that he used traditional Matcha to make his own ice cream. 300 Yen for a cone of ice cream was not cheap, but when I tasted it I forgot about the money. The matcha flavor were so bold, almost bitter. Not too sweet like regular green tea ice cream you can find at Konbini.
I’m sorry I don’t have the picture, since I was so busy indulge in the cold smooth and creamy green velvet. The sun began to shine in full power, so it’s quite hot outside. The ice cream soften fast, I had to finish it before melting. Oh, if you don’t trust me, I get the stare of several teenagers in school uniforms. I think they were sent by their school to have some kind of field study to the market? I don’t know. They giggled behind me, I don’t even aware of them before my ice cream gone. When I look up at them, with green milk mustache, they give me a thumbs up then giggled more.
I’m chilled and sugary happy, then continue strolling the market. I saw two large merchants selling all kind of snacks and sweets and more. I remembered that one of my friend asking for Kit Kat green tea, that quite difficult to find in Indonesia. Before I can go to the chocolaty shelf, my eyes widen seeing the pile after pile of snacks. They had the crunchy crackery ones, the soft and cakey, the gooey-doughey like mochi and others, they also had plastics of squid or octopus tentacles, all kind of nuts and grains, et cetera. Unfortunately, the employee caught me when I want to take pictures, and he said no. When a Japanese said no to me, I must obey them. Finally, I found the green tea Kit Kat and also the dark chocolate ones. My curiosity make me bought some other bits too. You can find it below.
Coming out from that store I smell the freshly grilled octopus ball or takoyaki. Oooh I’m hungry again. Only 200 Yen, I got 4 octopus balls and self served toppings like mayonnaise, sliced green onions, katsuoboshi or bonito flakes. I sat there, in open table, in the middle of the market. To my left cherry stalls were crowded with customer bargaining the fresh cherries, to my right the cook busy preparing something steamy for other customer. Just in front of me, there were dried fish vendor, shouting their goods to attract buyers. A little further to the left, after the cherries, I can see a man standing on top of what looks like a garbage bins. He stood high and taller from everybody, shouting about his goods in Japanese.
Finishing the last bit of hot gooey ball, I’m checking the spiced merchant. Unfortunately, he couldn’t speak English at all. So I only bought some sprinkles that obvious enough what it was for me.
mini crab crunchies
I found these crunchy seafood snack, made from original soft-shell crab and assorted of anchovies. They taste funky, in the good way though, it sweet and salty. But it didn’t quite suitable for teve snacks, because they are a bit sticky and too savory. I guess, and tried, that these umami loaded crackers are good to add flavor to my oatmeal or plain rice porridge. They even suitable as filling for rice cakes or onigiri.
Jazzin up my oatmeal
The next one is pickled octopus. The Japanese, Korean and Chinese are great in preserving their molluscan to be ready to serve delicacy. There were a whole range of variety of dried and pickled octopus and squids. The dried strips; with or without spice. The fully form squid or octopus legs, the shredded jerky and even powdered.
I like eating them just as it is. The thin coin ones are great for teve snacks, only if you eat it with fork or chop sticks. We don’t want our fingers to smell fishy all night, right? It has natural umami flavor of seafood, with a touch of sweetness and a punch of sourness. I also combine them with my fresh salads; with cucumber, tomatoes and parsley or coriander leaves. Add a drop of sambal or hot sauce, it’s a refreshing nibble.
pickled octopus coins
The other ones looked a lot scary. My husband didn’t even want to look at it. I know it may look un appealing, but I see them beautiful like butterflies.
pickled headless baby octopus
The red marinade gave more pungent flavor than the coin ones. It has strong fishy and sour smell. The texture also more chewy and a little hard to swallow. Maybe I should grilled or boiled them, I don’t really know. I use them in my salads or fried rice, with a lot of chillies.
Salty and spicy sprinkles
The next one are sprinklers!
Not the ordinary donut or cupcake sprinklers, it is the salty and spicy ones. They have a bunch at the store, I’m picking out the ones I’m certain what’s in it. I’m getting the mixed chilli and katsuoboshi sprinklers; katsuoboshi and nori; dried fish and vegetable; dried beef and vegetable; also the black sesame seeds. Again, I’m using them to pimped my plain oatmeal. Now, we have colorful and tasteful breakfast on oatmeal day. By the way, I finally conclude, the sprinklers must be some kind of flavor enhancement. Hmm, I don’t know.
No worries my friend, I’m consulting about this with a veteran Japanese food blogger, Ms. Makiko Itoh at Justhungry.com. When I get her replied, I’m updating this post.
Done with the savory, jump into the sweet findings next.