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 a delicious-looking popsicle that I had never seen before and grabbed it.
Ice Manju (アイスまんじゅう)
Here is what I got, called Ice Manju (あいすまんじゅう), produced and sold by Marunaga Seika (Confectionery) based in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture.
After purchasing it, I looked up the sweet treat on Japanese Wikipedia and found several food companies in various prefectures manufacturing it.
And based on that article, it seems that Ice Manju has been around since the 1950s.
As its name suggests, the composition of Ice Manju is similar to Manju (饅頭) cake, a common variety of Wagashi confection.
And it is filled with Anko (餡子) sweetened Azuki red bean paste.
The outer dough of regular Manju is soft and fluffy, typically consisting of wheat flour, brown sugar, and baking powder or baking soda,
whereas that of Ice Manju is milky, refreshing vanilla ice cream.
The combination of creamy ice cream and refined Anko paste can often be seen in Japan and goes very well.
Also, the sweet red bean paste pairs perfectly with fruits, so if you are curious about the taste, why not try it once?