Five Best Souvenir Snacks of Miyazaki
Every prefecture in Japan offers a range of packaged snacks specifically designed to be purchased as souvenirs for friends, family or co-workers when traveling. These almost always showcase local food specialties or regional delicacies. In terms of population, Miyazaki prefecture is one of Japan's smaller regions and yet when it comes to food souvenirs, it has an almost staggering selection of them. It was difficult to narrow it down but below are a selection of five that are well worth picking up if you're a visitor to Miyazaki.
1. Miyazaki Mango Éclair
If there's one food that Miyazaki is famous for its mango. The history of growing mangos in the prefecture is actually relatively recent, having only started in the '80s, but Miyazaki mangos have rapidly gained a reputation for being very high quality, so much so that the first mangos of the season sell for very high prices every year and that the fruit has become heavily associated with the prefecture. The majority of Miyazaki snacks incorporate mango in much the same way as Kagoshima's incorporate sweet potato.
Unusually, these mango eclairs aren't individually wrapped like most food souvenirs making them look like a tray of takoyaki when you open them up. These little choux pastries are coated with chocolate and filled with a mango and custard-like filling. Eclairs are of course, best when they're fresh but these are surprisingly good and sweet without being overly so.
2. Hyuganatsu Mikan Kintsuba
Hyuganatsu is another fruit closely associated with Miyazaki prefecture. This citrus fruit was discovered in Miyazaki and are named after the prefecture's historical name, Hyuga. Hyuganatsu look like lemons and have an interesting mix of sweet and sour flavours.
These beautifully packaged traditional Japanese kintsuba are made from bean paste but flavoured with Hyuganatsu juice. They’re delicate, soft and a little dry but not unpleasantly so. They carry a touch of the sourness of hyuganatsu but have the exact right mix of sweetness making them an excellent companion to green tea. Definitely one of the best snacks on this list and a must-buy if you like Japanese sweets.
3. Miyazaki Salt Caramel Nuts Cookie
What's a list of snacks without cookies. These salted caramel cookies are made with salt from the coast of Hyuga City in Miyazaki prefecture and while they may not be the most original of the snacks on this list, they are absolutely delicious. Crisp, crunchy and with the perfect mix of nuts and caramel they are definitely worth picking up, even for yourself if need be. Easily one of the best of the snacks I tried on this list, probably because they're just so simple.
4. Miyazaki Cheese Manju
Manju are a Japanese confection and are traditionally a round dumpling cake filled with red bean paste. Cheese manju are a variant invented in Miyazaki and have become a regional specialty. Miyazaki is not especially known for cheese or manju so its pretty fascinating how something wholly unique has come out of the prefecture. These manju use cheese instead of bean paste as the filling and despite the startling sounding combination, these are actually really good and somewhat reminiscent of small baked cheesecakes.
If you are shopping in Miyazaki, the best way to buy cheese manju would be to get them fresh from a cake shop, though these would have a much shorter shelf life than the ones you would buy as a prepackaged souvenir. These particular manju sampled here come in a pack of ten. They aren't quite as good as a fresh cheese manju and were perhaps a little too cheesy for my taste but still make an interesting snack and a good example of what cheese manju are all about.
5. Miyazaki Mango Waffle Sando
Here we have another mango flavoured snack, this time a waffle shaped cookie filled with mango flavoured cream. Once again proving simple is best, these were my favourite snacks out of those sampled here. The cookies are surprisingly large, crispy and a perfect match with the mango cream. My only disappointment is that there were only five of them in an oversized box so I ran out way too quickly.