Dango in general are made by rolling grain powder into little balls with some (hot) water and then steaming or boiling them. The balls are skewered together and served with anko (red bean paste), sauce or various other toppings on them.
One of the most popular dango is mitarashi dango. Mitarashi dango are served covered in a sweet-and-salty soy sauce based dressing and are often seen in tourist hotspots like Asakusa.
I personally love mitarashi dango and I would like to present you with some ways I found that make them taste even better!
1) Mitarashi dango served with ice coffee or dark green tea on the side.
This is probably the most popular way to enjoy mitarashi dango, and really allows the taste of the dango to stand on its own. The bitterness of dark green tea works great with the sweetness of the dango. Taking a sip of bitter tea while the sweetness spreads in your mouth feels great, making this a truly well balanced combination.
A strong black coffee or a latte with no sugar also work well! You can have the beverages hot or iced, both are fine. Just try whatever you are in the mood for!
2) For an even more delicous fragrance; mitarashi dango with soy flour.
Soy flour, which is made from crushed soy beans can be sprinkled on mochi or put in milk and is also used to make ice cream. It's a classic flavor that is especially present in Japanese sweets. If you find mitarashi dango a little too sweet or if you want to add a lighter touch to the flavor, I would recommend trying the dango with some soy flour. It adds a truly Japanese flavor.
3) Mitarashi dango with ice cream
The fact that this combination has become a product all by itself is proof enough that this is a winner! The sweetness of vanilla ice cream blends wonderfully with the sweet-and-salty taste of the dango. Also the dango's sticky texture combined with sensation of the melting ice is quite exquisite. This is one combination I would definitely recommend trying out during the summer.
4) Mitarashi dango with milk pudding
Perfect for those that want add something a little softer then ice cream! Just try one bite; the combination of jiggling sweet pudding and the stickiness of the mitarashi dango is sure to get you hooked! By the way, I truly think that milk pudding and not custard pudding is the perfect match for mitarashi dango because of how it balances the sweetness just right!
Extra tip! Turn it into an true Japanese sweet by adding some anko.
5) An unexpected combination... It goes well with sake?!
”Mitarashi dango pairs wonderfully with sake." is something you often hear said among sake aficionados. Dry sake pair very well with sweet snacks, so the sweet-and-sour mitarashi dango is a perfect candidate. For the sake lovers among you, do give this pairing a try! You won't regret it!
Just by adding these easily available extras, you can enjoy all these different sides that mitarashi dango has to offer and really bring out its flavor. Which combination did you like best? The possibilities are endless, so make sure to come up with and try out new combinations yourself! Next time you feel like having a snack, how about treating yourself to some mitarashi dango?
Draft storyboard & illustration by JIYEONG WI（TOKYO DESIGNER GAKUIN COLLEGE）
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