Wataame: Japanese Cotton Candy with its Roots in the U.S.
“Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the generic name for cheap, relatively small, unique Japanese snacks and candies whose price ranges from 10 yen (about 0.1 USD) to about 100 yen (about 1 USD).
The origin of Dagashi is said to date back to the Edo period, about 300 years ago, and today it comes in countless varieties.
Among such treats, “Umaibo (うまい棒)” is one of the most popular modern Dagashi snacks, sometimes called “the King of Dagashi”.
Other than Umaibo, there are a bunch of Dagashi that have been loved through generations, and what I introduce here “Wata-Ame (綿あめ)” is also among them.
Yes, the Japanese treat, Wataame, or Watagashi has its roots in the machine-spun cotton candy that was invented in 1897 in the U.S.
This Watagashi only costs 50 yen or so and is regarded as a Dagashi. It looks kind of like a white sponge rather than candy floss, but this is because the candy is compressed to fill in the small packaging.
Don’t worry, when breaking the candy into small pieces, the cut section becomes fluffy like your familiar cotton candy. In fact, once I put the white stuff in my mouth, it quickly melted away.
As for the ingredients, this Wataame is made just with 2 ingredients, sugar and flavoring. So simple.
I don’t know whether cotton candy comes in a package like this in your country.
But if you are interested and get a chance, it may be interesting to find out what the Japanese cotton candy Wataame or Watagashi tastes like.