7 Tokyo Shops to Try Shiruko, a Uniquely-Japanese Sweet
Have you ever had the chance to try shiruko before? Often topped with mochi (rice cake), it’s a type of sweet soup made with red adzuki beans crushed into a paste called anko. Perhaps owing to the novelty of a dessert that both uses beans and comes as a soup, shiruko has become quite popular lately among visitors to Japan. In consideration of this, we’ve put together a list of seven Tokyo shops where you can try out this delicious dish for yourself. We highly recommend enjoying it together with some piping-hot oden to make a combination great for the cold winter months.
1. Gion Tokuya
Unlike at many other restaurants, here you can try your hand at grilling your own mochi. Once grilled and moved to your plate, you have a variety of different flavorings to sprinkle on it, including soy flour, soy sauce, dried seaweed, and sankaini (a dark brown and flavorsome simmered pickle condiment). This Tokyo shop gives you a tantalizing taste of Kyoto’s Gion. Information: Map
Established in Asakusa in 1854, the smooth anko used in Umezono’s shiruko has a subtle and balanced sweetness. If you find your energies flagging after the excitement of Asakusa, be sure to drop in here for a pick-me-up. Information: Map
Another Asakusa shop, Umemura faces a quiet little side street, but it’s still popular enough that you’ll sometimes see a line forming at the door. The combination of soft-yet-stretchy mochi with anko here is superb. Information: Map
Shiruko with walnuts, http://d.hatena.ne.jp/mitioyoneko/
Located in Kagurazaka, Kinozen presents you with four different types of shiruko: gozen-shiruko, made with smooth anko; inaka-shiruko, made with chunky anko; shiruko with chestnuts; and shiruko with walnuts. Be sure to try the rare flavors of shiruko here, as you’re not likely to find them so easily anywhere else. On a note, their matcha green tea crème bavaroise is the keystone to their fame. Information: Map
A shop in Ueno serving inaka-shiruko, the accompanying mochi is grilled to perfection for a rich and fragrant dish. Mihashi is also a dessert shop well-known for its anmitsu, an agar jelly sweet served with a variety of toppings. Information: Map
An established shop founded in the Edo era that dates back to 1837, Hatsune gives you a chance to try a truly historical flavor in their simple, traditional serving of shiruko, made with a recipe that’s hardly changed with the years. Information: Map
This shop was made famous owing the love professed for it by writer Shōtarō Ikenami, famous for his historical novels. The anko paste they use here is incredibly thick yet perfectly sweet. Information: Map
Bonus: Shiruko in a Can
Japanese vending machines are noted world-wide for the sheer variety of things they sell, and even in the regular beverage ones you will often see a can of shiruko mixed in with a lineup of more ordinary drinks. It’s so easy, how could you not give it a shot? Just crack open a can to enjoy a drinkable version of sweet, tasty shiruko.