Azabu-Juban, a tranquil neighborhood amid the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo, is one of my favorite areas of the city. Many century-old shops are located here, including Mamegen, which specializes in flavored nuts, beans, peas and other snacks. Founded in 1865 by a street vendor who pushed his cart from block to block peddling fried beans, it is a must-visit whenever I come to the capital.
Mamegen’s traditional cooking methods lock in the flavor of the beans, and each of the 60 varieties is exquisitely packaged, making for a distinctive souvenir. My favorite is matcha, a peanut coated in a thick layer of green-tea powder, sprinkled with a fine sugar from Kagawa Prefecture, in southern Japan. The taste of the tea melds with the elegant fragrance of the sugar to create a fresh, delicate treat. But it’s worth sampling some of the other types as well: the nuts and beans always have a distinct flavor that goes well with their outer coating, which is never too sweet or salty.
So the next time you drop by Tokyo, don’t forget to pay a visit to Mamegen and taste some traditional-flavored bean snacks!
Name: Bonnie Chu
Taipei District Office