Sword-like sweets take the phrase “hana yori dango” to a whole new level.

When spring rolls around in Japan and everyone starts gazing at the blossoms, you’ll hear a phrase tossed about that goes: “Hana yori dango“.

Literally meaning “dango over flowers”, with dango referring to the skewered rice ball dumpling sweets commonly enjoyed during the hanami flower-viewing season, this phrase shot to worldwide fame after manga creator Yoko Kamio tweaked the kanji for “dango” (団子) to make it read “boys” (男子) for her hugely popular manga series Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers), which debuted in 1992.

However, the original proverb is all about dango sweets, and it refers to prioritising material things that serve a purpose, like dumplings, rather than showy pleasures, like flower-viewing, making it equivalent to the English phrase “substance over style“.

▼ For some people, dango — like these watermelon ones we tried a few years back — are the best thing about flower-viewing festivals in Japan.

Image © SoraNews24

With that linguistics lesson out of the way, it’s time to take a look at a store in Japan that’s taken the original proverb and run with it, using it to create an amazing series of dango sweets that’ll distract even the most diehard flower lovers.

While dango are usually served on a small wooden skewer containing three to four single balls, over at Hakata Yamadaya in Fukuoka Prefecture you’ll find a rare and extreme dango that comes with a total of 25 dango on a single stick.

▼ The result is truly eye-popping.

That dango in the video above is called the Mitarashi Samurai, which is a long, sword-like take on traditional mitarashi dango, which are grilled with a sweet soy glaze and usually look like this:

Image © SoraNews24  

The Mitarashi Samurai is just one of three epic dango on the menu at Hakata Yamadaya, as they also do a Mankai Sakura, containing 25 Sakura An (sweet sakura paste) dumplings, and a colourful Hana Yori Dango, which contains a huge variety of flavours.

▼ Feast your eyes on all three different varieties below!

Pulling each one out of its packaging is like pulling a long Japanese sword from its sheath. These blade-like offerings are mighty tasty, though, especially the Hana Yori Dango, which contains 25 dumplings, featuring flavours from the list below:

  • Mitarashi
  • Pumpkin
  • Tobiume (plum)
  • Lemon
  • Yame matcha (a famous matcha from Fukuoka)
  • Caramel
  • Amaou strawberry
  • Tsubu an (coarse sweet red bean paste)
  • Ramune
  • Bllack sesame
  • Natsu mikan (bitter summer orange)
  • Kinako an (roasted soybean flour paste)
  • Zunda (sweet edamame soybean paste)
  • Purple sweet potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Chocolate
  • Melon soda
  • Cola
  • Mugwort kinako
  • Sakura
  • Gyokuro green tea
  • Hojicha (roasted green tea)
  • Chestnut
  • Mugwort bean paste

▼ Not your typical dango.

If you’re going to choose dango over flowers this hanami season, you can’t go wrong with an epic dango from Hakata Yamadaya. In fact, why choose between sweets or blooms when you can have both? After all, the store recommends enjoying the super long sweets with friends at hanami parties this season.

▼ If your appetite doesn’t stretch as far as 25 dumplings, Hakata Yamadaya also sells smaller dango that are equally beautiful.

With over 100 dango flavours, Hakata Yamadaya is a must-visit destination when you visit Fukuoka. If you’d like to try the super-long 25-piece dango, though, you’ll want to make sure you visit their Noma Main Store, as it’s the only location that sells them.

And if you want to take them home and wrap them in pork, go ahead — we won’t judge you!

Store Information

Hakata Yamadaya Noma Main Store / 博多やまだや野間本店
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Fukuoka-shi, Minami-ku, Noma 1-10-7
Hours: 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays

Source, images: Instagram/hakatayamadaya unless otherwise noted
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