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Things to Eat and Drink in Japan

Japanese Food


Last update December 31, 2020

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Kasutera  カステラ

Castilla Cake or a Japanese sponge cake

japanese-food-kasutera When your teeth sink into the spongy moistened texture of Kasutera, its rich and refined sweetness spreads, as if it were a remembrance of a Japanese encounter with exotic Nanban (European mainly Portuguese and Spanish) cultures. After the Portuguese landed Tane Ga Shima in 1543, they brought to Japan not only firearms but also various sweets including Kasutera, Kompeitō (small colourful candies) and Bōro (a soft cookie). A popularly-held theory says its name can be traced back to the Portuguese word “Castela” (Castilla: a kingdom in the Middle Age Spain), and Spanish bizcocho or Portuguese pão de ló may be its ancestor. Here again, Japanese ingenuity (not as the original inventor but creative innovator) took over and further developed and adapted the cake to Japanese tastes. Thus, it’s made of eggs, wheat flour, sugar or Mizu Ame (starch syrup). Naturally, as the place of origin, products in Nagasaki are especially famous.


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