Bawan top

If you’re a Ghibli fan, chances are you’ve been fascinated on more than one occasion by the various colorful and tantalizing foods that appear in their films. Perhaps you’ve even seen some of the dishes recreated in real life. And then there are those mysterious looking foods, the identity of which we quite aren’t sure, like this stretchy, jelly-like translucent item that Chihiro’s father is seen eating in the film Spirited Away. Well, word on the Japanese Internet recently has it that the mystery as to what that food is has finally been solved.

Care to take a guess what it is? We’ll give you a hint: it’s not a Japanese dish!

Yes, the identity of this unusual looking food has been a topic of speculation among Ghibli fans for some time now. Many fans have commented over the years that they were dying to find out what that food was and actually eat it, and now, it seems they finally have the answer they’ve been looking for! According to information that’s recently been circulating online, the food is a Taiwanese snack called bawan, made from a translucent dough filled with a stuffing that typically contains pork, bamboo shoots and shiitake mushrooms, and served with a thick, sweet sauce poured over it.

▼A typical bawan served at a Taiwanese restaurant in Japan.

The dough, which basically consists of both corn and sweet potato starch as well as rice flour, is initially a white color as a mixture but turns translucent after cooking. The resulting texture is chewy and gelatinous.

▼The sauce looks seriously flavorful. It positively makes our mouths water!

▼Look at that juicy filling inside! Yum! No wonder Chihiro’s father was eating it with such gusto.

So, if any of you have been wondering what that tasty looking food in Spirited Away is, we hope this settles your question. Although there appear to be some Internet users commenting that the food shown in the film doesn’t really look like a bawan, there does seem to be a resemblance,at least in our opinion, and we think both the depiction in the anime as well as pictures of the snack in real life look delightfully appetizing. Hmm… we may not be to able hop over to Taiwan for a quick snack, but after seeing these photos, we just might be making a visit to a local Taiwanese restaurant in the near future!

Source: Tokyo Main Dish (Japanese) via My Game News Flash@Jin (Japanese)
Top Image: Shizen Daisuki Kana no Blog
Inset Images: Instagram (miporing55)