Update : March 18, 2013

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Confectionery and Others



Akumaki (Rice Cake)

Chimaki, called Akumaki in Kagoshima, is glutinous rice wrapped in the skin of dried bamboo shoots, and is an integral part of Kagoshima's May Festival. The rice is soaked in lye overnight, wrapped in bamboo, and then cooked for 3~4 hours in lye. Due to the fact that Akumaki is made with lye, it has a long shelf-life. This was apparently the main reason why the Satsuma army used it as rations, thus making it a historical local food. The Akumaki is rare even in the world due to the fact that it is an alkaline food product. Within the prefecture, similar products exist by different names, such as the Tsunomaki of Tanegashima and the Tojinkan of Bonotsu.

Kagoshima Style Ramen (Soup Noodles)

There are so many ramen noodle shops in Kagoshima that it seems like one cannot take a walk around town without seeing one. The secret of the Kagoshima ramen is in the soup; made by boiling the bones of locally raised pigs. At first glance, the soup seems oily but it is actually quite light and nutritious. Each shop retains its own distinctive flavour, and as the noodles also come in different shapes, such as very fine or frizzy noodles, there is a large variety of Kagoshima ramen for everyone to enjoy.

Karukan (Steamed Rice Cake)

The representative sweet of Kagoshima, karukan, is well known throughout the country. A steamed sweet made of high-quality yams, roughly powdered non-glutinous rice, and sugar; the pleasant fragrance of yam potatoes, a uniquely smooth taste, and a refined flavor have made this a favorite local gift product.

Shirokuma (Shaved Ice Dessert)

There is an interesting anecdote about Shirokuma. When summer vacation was drawing near, a man from Kagoshima who was studying at a university in Tokyo said, "I want to go back to Kagoshima and eat Shirokuma (polar bear)'". His friends were all astonished to hear that people in Kagoshima eat polar bears! In actual fact, Shirokuma is the name of a dessert that is a bowl of shaved ice with condensed milk and plenty of fruit. For Kagoshima's citizens, this iced Shirokuma brings back many nostalgic memories.
There are several theories about how Shirokuma came to be, but it is said that this frosty treat was originally created about 60 years ago when a cotton store located on Nishida street began selling snow cones as a side business during the summer months. Their new menu included Shirokuma, which was named after the trademarked white bear that appeared on the label of the can of condensed milk used to make the treat. It was also said that the name was derived from the appearance of the dessert, where the fruit was placed in such a way as to resemble the face of a polar bear. This iced Shirokuma became very popular in downtown Temmonkan, and many shops throughout the city began to start selling it as well.

Sakezushi (Sake-Fermented Sushi)

Kagoshima cuisine tends to be plain and simple, but the sakezushi is a colourful and splendid exception to the rule. It is made by placing cooked rice in Ryukyu lacquer ware, and adding Sea Bream (fish), deep fried fish cake, bamboo shoots, butterbur leaves, thinly sliced omelette and other seasonal ingredients, then adding locally-brewed rice wine and finally letting it rest and ferment for more than four hours.

It has a rich aroma and a unique sweet flavour. There is a story that explains the origin of the Sakezushi. One day, the lord of Shimazu left his dinner overnight in the kitchen after a party and as a result it fermented and gave off a distinct aroma the next day.

Jambo-Mochi(Twin Skewered Glutinous Rice Balls)

Freshly pounded glutinous rice in small balls about the size of ancient Japanese gold coins are skewered on two bamboo sticks, roasted, and basted with a warm, sweet sauce made from miso, black sugar and thickened with starch. The tradition of always using two sticks has been said to be in imitation of the long sword and the short sword carried by samurai warriors, and also gives them the name "jambo", meaning "both sticks".

Harukoma (Thick Jelly Dessert)

A steamed sweet made of glutinous rice and adzuki beans, this was first sold by lower ranking Kagoshima samurai as their part time A steamed sweet made of glutinous rice and adzuki beans; this was first sold by lower ranking Kagoshima samurai warriors as a side-business. It was called “Umanmara (horse’s penis)”, because of the resemblance due to its shape and colour.

When the sixteenth feudal lord Shigehide Shimazu asked his vassal for the name of the sweet, the vessel did not know how to frame his answer and instead blurted out "Harukoma". It is said that this is the reason why it came to be called "Harukoma".
Despite the simplicity of its taste, this sweet is bursting with the dry humour of the people of Satsuma.

Fukurekashi (Steamed Cake)

These are steamed home-made sweets made by leavening flour and sugar with baking soda. Brown sugar is commonly used in Kagoshima, and because these treats are easy to make, they are often eaten as snacks or with tea. Commercially produced varieties also tend to have a flavour that celebrates simplicity.

Kajiki-Manju (Sweet Confection)

Also called "Sake (alcohol) Manju". It is said that these sweets have a long history as they were brought to Kajiki in the Ashikaga Period (1336~1573). The filling varies from shop to shop, with some using powdered bean paste and others using crushed bean paste. The puffy pure white crust is delicious, and some varieties include mugwort (herb).

Ijuin-Manju (Sweet Confection)

Glutinous rice powder is first roasted and kneaded with syrup and hot water, and then the dough is used to wrap up white bean paste to make this sweet specialty of Hioki City.
Moulded in the shape of the Shimadzu family crest (a cross within a circle, similar to a Celtic cross), it is a favourite treat among both the young and old.