Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ki-bidango (millet dumpling)

 I have been farming the kid's snacks bins of various odd snacks or things which are difficult to tell the nature of merely by looking at the package and its shape. This little bar, which is about the size of a Snickers candy bar, caught my eye both because of its graphics and the fact that I'd never heard of bidango before. I found it for a mere 28 yen (33 cents) at Okashi no Machioka, but these are the types of things that tend to show up in the kid's treats areas of supermarkets like Seiyu.

There is no information on the package about the calories or size, but it can be guessed at by comparing the average as offered on the Calories in Japanese foods site. I had to weigh it myself and it's 45 grams and that would appear to be about 140 calories for the entire bar. If this is the same composition as that on that aforementioned site, ki-bidango is rich in copper and carbohydrates.

When I unwrapped this, I wasn't sure what I was going to get. The Wikipedia page on this type of thing shows little white balls which resemble traditional dango or mochi. What was revealed looked like a block of youkan wrapped in edible plastic.

This doesn't smell like much of anything. The texture is chewy, though not tough. It is slightly reminiscent of gum without the elastic properties. In terms of taste, it's rather hard to pin down. At first, it reminded me of brown sugar or molasses, then it took on more of a red bean flavor. The taste is actually quite subtle and it's mildly and pleasantly sweet.

The ingredients include sugar water, red beans, sugar, flour, powdered mochi, vegetable oil, honey, and salt. Of course oblaat is also an ingredient because it is the edible wrapper on the outside of the sticky bar. It was actually quite difficult to cut with a knife to get this shot.

This is an interesting snack, and it's not bad at all. The taste is pleasant. The texture is interesting, and it's pretty satisfying. That being said, though I'd eat this if it was offered or given to me as a gift, I wouldn't buy it again. It's not that it's bad in any way, but rather that it's not the sort of thing I would "crave" as a sweet treat. It feels more like actual rice-based food that has been modified to become a sweet. I guess that's part of the reason that it is on offer for children. It's probably seen as more wholesome than the average chocolate bar or salty treat.

If you'd like to share your experiences with weird foods and enter a contest for a chance to win a silly prize, please read this post and make a comment. 


Jimjamjenny said...

I'm assuming that you don't know this, as you didn't mention it in your post, but kibidango are mentioned in the traditional Japanese story momotaro, which also explains the pictures on the packaging!

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Jimjamjenny, and I didn't know that! Thanks for sharing it!

I think I read/heard the story eons ago and the details are lost in the recesses of my brain. :-)