Obaachan knows best, especially when it comes to popular Japanese snacks that have stood the test of time. 

Around the world, grandmothers are beloved for their generosity, knowledge…and sweet snacks. In Japan, grandmas are fondly called “obaachan“, and with decades of sweet-eating experience under their belt, they know a thing or two about the country’s favourite snacks.

It’s a topic that Japanese news site Goo decided to look into in more depth recently, as they asked 1,520 people in Japan the following question: “What are the snacks you’d ordinarily be served by a Japanese grandma if you went to visit her at home?

Let’s take a look at the top ten most popular responses below!

10. Kurobo

Literally translating to “Black Stick”, Kurobo is a popular traditional snack that originally hails from the southern island of Kyushu. These sticks are soft and aerated on the inside and covered in a crisp sugar coating on the outside, making them popular as coffee dippers. When dipped into a cup of Joe, the bitterness of the coffee is said to be a perfect partner for the rich raw sugar of the sweet.

9. Genji Pie

Around since 1965, these sugary pie biscuits are shaped like cute hearts, and are often enjoyed with a cup of tea.

8. Cheese Okaki

Another long-selling favourite, these soy sauce-flavoured rice crackers contain a centre of cheese cream, combining sweet, salty and savoury flavours in every mouthful. According to those surveyed, Bourbon brand cheese okaki are said to be the best.

7. Asparagus

This snack gets its name from its long knobbly shape, which is said to resemble an asparagus. Made by Ginbis, this is the company’s top selling product, and it’s loved for its black sesame and biscuit flavour, which comes with a subdued sweetness, making it another popular candidate for hot-beverage dipping.


6. Cheese Almond

Cheese Almond are a popular salty snack staple in many a Japanese home, with the winning combination of nuts, cracker and cheese all wrapped up in one convenient little mouthful.

5. Nanbu Senbei

This traditional snack originates from present-day Hachinohe City, which was once home to the Nanbu samurai clan. Today, these crackers are commonly sold as souvenirs throughout the region, and in Aomori Prefecture and other parts of Iwate Prefecture as well, where they’re loved for their crunchy texture and unique flavour. Unlike most crackers, these ones are made from wheat instead of rice, and contain ingredients like peanuts and pistachios.

4. Soft Salad

Softer than most other rice crackers on the market, these are cooked in vegetable oil, known as “salad oil” in Japan. These large, round rice crackers have a lighter texture and less of a bite to them, making them easy for older people and young children to enjoy.

3. Lumonde

The Bourbon range of sweet biscuits is incredibly popular throughout Japan, and out of all of them, Lumonde, which has been around since 1974, makes the list as the one you’d be served by a grandma in Japan. These little morsels of crispy crepe dough are covered in a thin layer of cocoa cream, creating a light and airy biscuit that you could easily eat ten of in one sitting.

▼ Some of the other Bourbon biscuits that didn’t make the cut.

2. Pota Pota Yaki

Kamata Seika’s “Pota Pata Yaki” senbei rice crackers have been on the market since 1986. Not only are the soy sauce crackers delightfully sweet and crunchy; the beautifully illustrated image of a grandma roasting rice crackers conjures up a warm, cosy feeling that reminds many people of their own smock-wearing bespectacled grandmothers.


1. Yuki no Yado

Taking the top spot on the list is a hugely popular rice cracker called “Yuki no Yado” which beautifully translates to “Snow Inn”. First introduced to the market in 1977, these crackers come with a coating that looks like fallen snow, and are made from condensed milk and cream from Hokkaido, which adds a delightful sweetness to its otherwise savoury flavour.

So there you have it, the top ten snacks you’re most likely to be served by a Japanese grandma when you visit her at home. Were any of your favourites on the list? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget you can try even more snacks at Japan’s Dagashi Bar, where you can enjoy all you-can-eat sweets for just 500 yen!

Source: Goo via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
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