When we visit any countries, it would be an absolute waste if we didn’t purchase any souvenirs for our friends and families, well, even for ourself. If you travel to Japan, you will be astonished to look at the number of souvenirs you can buy here such as snacks to sundry items. For Muslims travellers, it is difficult for them to buy snacks-related souvenirs. They need to be extra cautious when it comes to the ingredients. If you can’t understand Japanese, you may ask the staff. Another option is to refer to this article so you’ll know what to buy. Fortunately, some of these snacks are Halal certified and vegetarian-friendly too.
This Japanese traditional snack is made out of glutinous rice and it takes a week to make them. The process of making okaki is somewhat similar to mochi. Rice will be steamed to turn them into mochi. Then, it will be chopped into smaller cuts before being put to dry. After it dries, it has to be baked. Only then, you get to taste okaki. As complicated as it sounds, the taste is very delicious! You can get okaki in many kinds of flavours such as wasabi, seaweed and pepper.
Image Source: Have Halal Will Travel.
2. Sakura Jam
Yes, although sakura season has ended, you should really get this Sakura jam. Comes in five main flavours which are peach, strawberry, apple, orange and blueberry, it is packed inside a small jar that is convenient for a travel bag. Just spread the jam on plain bread and you are good to go.
Image Source: Halal Media.
3. Soba-boro Cookie
As you all know, soba literally means ‘buckwheat’ while boro is ‘cookie’ in Portuguese. Soba-boro is shaped like a flower but in brown colour. In Kyoto, specifically, this snack is very famous as you can find it at any snack shops. Furthermore, the texture is crunchy and it is not too sweet even though they used sugar to make this cookie.
Image Source: Patricia Aldaba Lim on Facebook.
4. Ryukyu Kokuto
Ryukyu Kokuto or easily translated as ‘Brown Sugar Candy’ is one of Okinawa’s popular snacks. Brown sugar is not that sweet so it is naturally healthy and good for your body. If you have any eczema, brown sugar will help to overcome this problem. To top it off, in 2015, Ryukyu Kokuto is finally certified as Halal by NAHA (Nippon Asia Halal Association).
Image Source: Japan Info.
As you stroll along the busy street of Asakusa, keep your eyes peeled for Ningyo-yaki! It comes in many shapes and sizes, sometimes you will find Ningyo-yaki shaped like Hello Kitty, pagoda or Doraemon. Ningyo means ‘dolls’, which means this is a baked doll. It is filled with a red bean paste and you can even store them for days.
Image Source: Gilman Girl on Live Journal.
6. OTACO Chiffon Cake
OTACO is the name of a shop that sells soft chiffon cake, plus it is very famous in Asakusa. The shop acquired Halal certificate in 2015 by the Okachimachi Mosque. The cakes are made entirely out of rice flour with no added preservatives and as such. In OTACO, you can find Pain, Earl-Grey, Mocha, Matcha and Cocoa flavoured chiffon cake. However, this cake can only last not more than two days. The texture is very light and extremely soft every time you take a bite!
Image Source: Halal Media.
A favourite among the people in Hyogo and Okayama Prefectures, Kibi-Dango is a Japanese traditional rice cake that is made using sugar, sticky rice flour and millet flour. It is also known as millet dumpling. If you would like to purchase the Halal certified Kibi-Dango, you can head to Tottori Okayama Shimbashikan, Tokyo.
Available in three flavours namely Plain, White Peach and Matcha, each Kibi-Dango present a sweet unique taste. The Plain Kibi-Dango tastes mostly sweet, White Peach Kibi-Dango smells like peach and taste like one too, meanwhile, Matcha Kibi-Dango doesn’t have a strong bitter taste as you frequently taste in any matcha snacks.
Image Source: Japan Halal TV.
8. Royce Potatochip Chocolate
Potato chips coated with chocolate? You might think that it is disgusting, but, it is not. Royce Potatochip Chocolate originated from Hokkaido. The snack is made from Hokkaido’s fresh milk and chocolate. Royce Potatochip Chocolate is sweet but comes with a hint of saltiness that stems from the chips. Other than chocolate, they also sell Caramel, Mild Bitter (Cocoa) and Fromage Blanc (White Chocolate). Besides, it is prepared using only plant-based ingredients.
Image Source: Nina132 on Instagram.
9. Sata Andagi
This round-shaped bun is also one of Okinawa’s special foods. Sata Andagi or deep fried sugar is also known as doughnuts or doughnuts holes because of its shape. The ingredients to make Sata Andagi are all Halal certified which they only use sugar, flour and eggs. Therefore, it is safe to consume for Muslims. Although it is made out of sugar, it is not as sweet as your average doughnuts. The texture is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sata Andagi can be kept for several days if you keep them at room temperature.
Image Source: My Recipes.
Yatsuhashi can be eaten either raw or baked and it is prepared using glutinous rice flour, sugar and cinnamon. It is a very popular snack souvenir among the visitors in Kyoto. The raw version of Yatsuhashi tastes quite similar to a mochi because of the soft and chewy texture, plus, it also contains red bean paste as the filling. Meanwhile, for the baked Yatsuhashi, it is much crunchier as if you are eating a senbei (rice cracker). Yatsuhashi is also available in several flavours like matcha, cinnamon and black sesame.
Baked Yatsuhashi (on the left) and raw Yatsuhashi (on the right).
In short, since Japan received tons of Muslim travellers each year, it is not a surprise to see so many Halal and Muslim-friendly food products. You can purchase these souvenirs mainly in Tokyo or any Muslims convenience stores. For more Halal souvenirs, click on the link to read the first part.