Kyoto Wagashi: Ayu and Kuzu-yaki from Heianden

First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆ くず焼き

First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き
Ayugashi, one of my all time favorite wagashi is available now. It, like the actual ayu sweetfish will be in season for another month or so. I had my first of the year today from perhaps my favorite ayugashi maker, Heianden.

We did a very exaustive article last summer about ayugashi, also called wakaayu and our favorite shops in Kyoto, so I will not go into great detail on that here. You can read that article right here. (It is, I think, my favorite KyotoFoodie article.)

Heianden: Ayugashi
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き
So, I was over near Heian Shrine today visiting the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts giving them another opportunity to convince me that a tree trunk can be protected by copyright for an article on OpenKyoto.

Afterward I zipped around the corner and down the street to Heianden intent on getting my first ayugashi of the year, which I did. I also bought their meibutsu (famous product) kuzuyaki, which was quite good. Their other meibutsu, whose name I cannot recall, I did not buy, which I now regret. Next time. I did take a picture of it in the show window though.

Heianden: Ayugashi
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

This is the storefront of Heianden, it is just down the street from Heian Shrine and all the museums in Okazaki Park.

Heianden Store Window: It’s Early Summer
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Heianden Meibutsu: Heian Mochi
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

I had this awhile back and really liked it, I can’t recall exactly what it tasted like.

Heianden: Ayugashi Package
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

I do love this package, and it isn’t too excessive.

Heianden: Ayugashi
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Not the most beautifully articulated ayu sweetfish, but pretty good.

Heianden: Ayugashi
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Heianden: Ayugashi
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Bubbly soft gyuhi mochi filling, yum!

Kuzu Yaki
People in Kyoto are into kuzu. Remember, kuzu is the starchy root from rural Nara prefecture that Japanese love to make summer sweets with. This is azuki kuzu that has been coated with an egg white mixture then cooked a bit. Yaki is to bake, cook or grill in Japanese.

Heianden: Kuzu Yaki
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

I am not always a big fan of azuki paste, usually it is too sweet for me. Of course ‘too sweet’ isn’t ‘Kyoto’, ‘Kyoto’ is subtle, sophisticated and delicate.

This was my first time to have this. (I think there is a tiny wagashi shop in my neighborhood that I have seen it at but you had to order like 10 peices minimum or something like that, so I never got it.)

How did it taste?
The surface is pleasantly al dante and offers some resistance as you bite through it.  That must be from the egg coating. The inside is firm but not too firm like jelly. It is spongy but a little bubbly too. Not chewy bubbly like gyuhi mochi though because somehow while it isn’t dry and crumbly it feels like it almost is. I didn’t get that at first, then when I did, I thought that the feel, the sensation of chewing it was very ‘Kyoto’. At first I was disappointed but then I realized that this was the real deal, real Kyoto. I had missed the point in the first bite. This is what things in Kyoto are supposed to taste (and feel) like! You’ve got to be aware as you eat in Kyoto or you might miss the point. But don’t get all uptight about it though, it is Kyoto brand hedonism, but it is still hedonism. And I say, BRING IT ON!

Heianden: Kuzu Yaki
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Heianden: Kuzu Yaki
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Heianden: Kuzu Yaki
First Ayugashi of 2009! 平安殿のあゆとくず焼き

Do check out our definitive ayugashi article from last year. It has a link to the Google map for the Heianden location.

3 Responses to “Kyoto Wagashi: Ayu and Kuzu-yaki from Heianden”

  1. toasted says:

    looks really good! ^_^ i want to try the ayu fish with mochi inside!

  2. yves seban says:

    Kuzu is an ingredient I love to use. You wouldn’t have a recipe for this Kuzu yaki by any chance….It looks pretty “simple” (nothing is that simple in nihon no -ryori, least of all wagashi), but I’m wondering about the kind of sugar they use, quantity, cooking style to get it hard like that, as well as proportion of kuzu for water.
    As a Japanese friend told me : saji kagen is crucial.
    Fantastic site…ma favorite while eating lunch
    yves

  3. Judy says:

    OH MY GOD. I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THESE TWO WAGASHI SINCE I WAS 8. My dad brought them home once and I never found them again, I wanted to see them and try to replicate that delicious first bite I took. Too bad they were bought.. I wish I can eat it again.

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