Confused? You should be.

Now that the new year is upon us, it is time once again to look forward to Setsubun, the traditional Japanese holiday marking an old seasonal division at the beginning of February. It’s a wonderful time when parents scare their children and children throw beans at their parents.

It is also a time when we may dine on ehomaki, which are luxuriously packed sushi rolls intended to be eaten for luck while facing a certain direction, which is south by southeast this year.

▼ Ehomaki

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Eating ehomaki is a custom that originated in the Kansai region of Japan but has since spread through most of the country. Since, like most holidays, it’s a chance for businesses to make some extra money, ehomaki can be seen in most major convenience store and supermarket chains.

But not only that, other restaurants and non-sushi food producers have been trying to get in on the act as well. Lucky ehopizzas and ehosubs have hit the scene in years past, and now we are witnessing the birth of ehoshumai.

▼ Ehoshumai

Photo: Kiyoken

Japanese shumai varies quite a bit from the Chinese dumpling it’s based on. The pork filling has a somewhat creamy consistency, usually mixed with onions and peas, and wrapped in a small and thin cup of rice paper.

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However, with ehoshumai, the shumai is converted into a long bar like a sushi roll. While the same salty and sweet pork mixture is in the center, the rice paper has been replaced with a sturdier steamed bun, much like you’d find on a nikuman dumpling.

Photo: Kiyoken

It’s made by the shumai specialists at Kiyoken in Yokohama and they let you know it by branding each ehoshumai with their mascot Hyo-chan in soy sauce.

Photo: Kiyoken

They’ll sell for 300 yen (US$2.30) each and are a little smaller than standard ehomaki sushi rolls, making them a somewhat lighter alternative. I suppose that’s debatable though, since they’re full of pork.

They’ll be for sale for a very limited time from 1 to 3 February both in ready-to-eat and frozen form. Delivery is also available and preorders are currently being accepted, so there’s no excuse to miss out on this rare Japanese-Chinese-Japanese treat.

Source: Kiyoken via Entabe
Top image: Kiyoken
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