Ice Manju: Ice Cream Popsicle with Anko Red Bean Paste
Here in Niigata, Japan, the temperature outside is now close to 0 degrees Celsius, but yesterday when I went on an errand to a drugstore, I found an interesting, delicious-looking popsicle that I had never seen before and resulted in grabbing it.
Ice Manju (アイスまんじゅう)
This is what I got, called “Ice Manju (あいすまんじゅう)”, which is produced and sold by Marunaga Seika (Confectionery) located in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture.
But I looked it up on Wikipedia Japan and found out that Ice Manju is manufactured by a number of food companies located in various prefectures. According to that article, it seems that Ice Manju has been around since the 1950s.
As its name indicates, Ice Manju is shaped like and resembles the traditional Japanese steamed bun “Manju (饅頭)“, a common variety of Wagashi confection, and filled with “Anko (餡子)” or sweetened Azuki red bean paste.
The dough of ordinary Manju cake is typically made from wheat flour, brown sugar, and baking powder or baking soda, and is soft and fluffy, while that of Ice Manju is soft, milky vanilla bean ice cream.
The combination of creamy vanilla ice cream and refined, sweet Anko paste can often be seen in Japan and goes very well! Also, the sweet red bean paste actually pairs beautifully with fruits, so if you are curious about the taste, why not give it a try?