Dagashi: The Top 10 Best Japanese Snacks
Have you ever heard of “Dagashi (駄菓子)”?
Actually, Dagashi is the generic name for cheap Japanese snacks and candies whose price ranges from 10 yen (about 0.1 USD) to about 100 yen (about 1 USD).
Dagashi comes in numerous different varieties, many of which are unique. And especially children love those treats because even with little pocket money they can buy various products.
Dagashi snacks in a DagashiyaImage: dosukoimonachan
When I was small, I used to go to a “Dagashiya (駄菓子屋)“, a small candy shop that specialized in Dagashi, in my neighborhood, where over 100 varieties of Dagashi treats were available. So it was hard for me to decide what to choose.
Dagashiya (駄菓子屋)Image: hamamachi.jp
Now, let’s get into the main topic today.
Actually, a few years ago in Japan, a TV program held a popularity contest of Dagashi snacks, where 10,000 people gave their vote to their favorite Dagashi.
The Top 10 Best Japanese Snacks
As a result, 10 Japanese Dagashi treats that they thought best were selected in the contest. Today, for people who are not familiar with Dagashi, I will introduce the top 10 Japanese snacks and candies.
#1: Tirol Choco (チロルチョコ)
Tirol Choco is a small chocolate candy that comes in various fillings and flavors. It is sold for 20 or 30 yen at most convenience stores and supermarkets.
Tirol Choco is arguably one of the best Japanese chocolate marketed by Tirol Choco, which is said to create, every year, about 20 to 30 new flavors for the series.
#2: Umaibo (うまい棒)
Umaibo is a corn puff stick with a somewhat hard texture, known as the “King of Dagashi”. It was first introduced in 1979 and now comes in many unique flavors.
Umaibo tastes so good for the price of 10 yen, which has never changed since its release in 1979. Because of the deliciousness and cheapness, Umaibo has now become a legendary Dagashi.
#3: Baby Star Ramen (ベビースターラーメン)
Introduced in 1959 by Oyatsu Company, Baby Star Ramen is a crispy deep-fried noodle snack that comes in 2 regular flavors, Chicken and Uma-Shio (tasty salt).
These fried noodles are nicely crispy, loaded with umami. Baby Star Ramen has local-limited flavors, which beautifully recreate the taste of regional specialties.
#4: Miyako Kombu (都こんぶ)
Miyako Kombu is a classic Japanese snack made of thin sheets of seaweed kelp flavored with vinegar and sweeteners.
This seaweed snack is tender and easy to tear apart, characterized by the addicting vinegary umami that comes from white particles on the surface.
#5: Onigiri Senbei (おにぎりせんべい)
Onigiri Senbei is a sweet soy sauce-flavored rice cracker introduced by Masuya in 1969. As its name indicates, this Dagashi is shaped like an Onigiri rice ball. Onigiri Senbei is especially popular in Osaka.
#6: Cut Yocchan (カットよっちゃん)
Cut Yocchan, also known as Yocchan Ika, is a soft, chewy, vinegary snack made with fish paste and squid powder, seasoned with vinegar and sweeteners.
Cut Yocchan is one of the best Surimi snacks and has been a long-time favorite among children.
#7: Butamen (ブタメン)
Butamen is a mini cup of instant ramen introduced by Oyatsu Company in 1993 and now comes in several regular flavors.
This Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) Butamen is packed with delicious flavor, because of which it is the best and most popular flavor in the series.
#8: Big Katsu (ビッグカツ)
Big Katsu is a crispy deep-fried cutlet Dagashi emulating the taste of Tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet). But this snack is made from fish paste, not pork.
Nonetheless, the Surimi (fish paste) snack isn’t fishy at all, rather quite addictive. In fact, it was one of my favorite Dagashi snacks as a kid.
#9: Choco Bat (チョコバット)
Choco Bat is a puffed corn snack whose dough stick is coated in a thin layer of milk chocolate. This Dagashi went on the market in 1964, and its addicting texture made it popular. Choco Bat is priced at 30 yen.
#10: Mochi Taro (餅太郎)
Mochi Taro is a crispy fried cracker made from wheat flour and starch. These are lightly salted but full of umami and known only to those in the know.