Saturday, September 28, 2013

Takemura 竹むら : Temple of Traditional Japanese Sweets

Right in the alleys behind Kanda Matsuya is Takemura竹むら, a traditional Japanese sweet house or what the Japanese usually call as Kanmi-dokoro 甘味処, sweets place.

Having been spared from the wartime damage, this place, established since 1930, continues to operate in the exact same rhythm of the past--with the same menu. Instead of going for the zabuton cushions in the open tatami room, we opted for the usual tables.



Whatever you order, you should try the shop's specialty--Age Manju (Y450/$5.75), which is rarely found at other kanmi-dokoro. It is a deep fried fritter just like our Chinese red bean ball/sesame ball but the coating is thinner and does not have any glutinous texture.

Very oily but the red bean paste is smooth and sweet.One bite and you will understand why so many people takeaway more home or buy them as omiyage (souvenirs).


Another interesting find is the Abe Kawa(Y630/$8.05), a mochi sweet that is from Shizuoka. As the mochi cubes have been toasted with some black burnt bits, they tend to become harder to chew, unlike the usual dango balls that stretches easily when warmed. Not too fond of the mochi, but I swept the Kinako powder clean.



Oddly, the Toroten (Y500/$6.40) served here is a savory one, instead of the black sugar syrup (kuromitsu). Transparent and slippery, this is one cool dish that is difficult to decipher. Spicy-tart flavor from the yellow mustard and vinegar, with some saltiness from the grated nori (seaweed). While we honestly did not welcome this dish at first, I find it quite useful to kill some excessive sugariness.
One interesting observation is that it is mostly male customers who were having toroten.
 

The tempo here is really slow, but it's peaceful. People still engage in their own chat but there seems like an invisible soundproof wall surrounding each table so one is less likely to be absorbed into third-party conversations.

At some point, I did feel like a modern man who had slipped accidentally into the ancient Warring period.


Takemura 竹むら
1-19 Kanda-Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3251-2328.
Nearest stations Ogawamachi (Shinjuku Line) or Awajicho Marunouchi Line).
Open 11am-8pm
Closed Sundays and holidays.
 
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