Release | Akiko Miyanaga
Too cute to eat! “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set” from Sapporo Mochi no Miyoshiya
“Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set” from the long established Mochi specialized shop “Miyoshiya”, continues since1961, is perfect for a Hokkaido souvenir. It’s too cute you can not decide where to start eating. It’s best for not only souvenirs but also for presents. I went to Miyoshiya to meet the cute bears!
The long established mochi specialized shop in Sapporo, famous for “Isshoumochi” gifts for the first birthday of kids, produces “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set”
In 1957, Tatsusaburo Takebayashi, who was a wagashi artisan traveling from Hakodate to Otaru, established “Kagaya”, the predecessor of Miyoshiya in 1918. After the World War changed the name to “Miyoshiya”, and at the same time, started manufacture and sales. Then the father of the current president Kazutoshi Takebayashi established an independent shop “Miyoshiya” in 1961 in Sapporo.
▲There are many products at the shop; “Birthday Mochi (Isshoumochi)” gifts for the first birthday of kids, major products “Daifuku”, “Manju”, etc. “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set” is available at online stores only.
The cute “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set” was popular as “Koro-chan Monaka” more than 20 years ago and was one of the major products of Miyoshiya.
However, they changed the product’s shape to standard circular Monaka 15 years ago and terminated selling bear-shaped ones.
▲Their back is adorable, too!
Young staffs who heard the story desired the revival of bear Monaka when Miyoshiya started e-commerce. They found Monaka’s mold from the storeroom of a manufacturer in Otaru, which is the city Miyoshiya used to be before coming to Sapporo. They revived the bear-shaped Monaka from six years ago.
▲The president of Miyoshiya Kazutoshi Takebayashi explaining about “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set”, which his father created, very happily.
The current president Kazutoshi Takebayashi told me that he clearly remembers the shop displaying many bears when he was in elementary school. (* The product is available at online stores only now. The color of Monaka is only brown)
The set has two kinds of pastes; “Tsubuan”, red bean paste using Hokkaido’s products and made less sweet than old products, and “Kurian” with lots of chopped pieces of chestnut.
▲The ingredients are the skin of bears, Tsubuan, Kurian, bamboo spatula, and Kinako powder. If the Monaka got soft by humidity, toast a little bit, so it becomes crunchy again.
“Monaka” is one of the major Japanese traditional confections eaten from Edo period. This Monaka requires you to put pastes by yourself. It’s a hands-on confection!Alright, let’s try making Monaka with “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set”!!
First, peel the lid of the cup with Tsubuan or Kurian. Scoop the paste with the bamboo spatula in the set.
▲“Feed” the pastes (it’s supposed to be a meal for bears! ) to bears. Monaka which are pastes put freshly is very crunchy.
Put the pastes carefully not to crush the Monaka. After putting the paste, join the other piece of Monaka, and it’s done! My four-year-old boy could make the Monaka and enjoyed very much!
Other than the pastes in the set, you can enjoy varieties of tastes such as putting in ice cream, jam, jelly, and toppings such as Kinako and Matcha.
▲Miyoshiya does not use food preservative nor sterilizer and produce safe wagashi.
Finish eating right after opening the product because Sapporo Mochi no Miyoshiya does not use any food preservative nor sterilizer.
▲The Bears look like bathing; Monaka put in Oshiruko. (Photo provided by Miyoshiya)
The hands-on wagashi “Hokkaido Bear-shaped Monaka set” is good for not only souvenirs but also for presents.
▲Enjoy Miyoshiya’s “Bear-shaped Monaka set”! (Photo provided by Miyoshiya)
Related Link- Sapporo’s long established Mochi specialized store “Miyoshiya”
Photo provided by Miyoshiya
Text, Photo / Hokkaido Likers photo-writer Akiko