For the third post in a row for foods under ¥1,000, I've chosen the wonderful Dango shop "Iseya". A Dangoya mainly serves Dango (rice flour dumplings on a skewer) but will also often offer Daifuku (sweet-filled round glutinous-rice cakes), Onigiri (rice ball) and Makimono (variety of rolled sushis). Iseya offers all that, at an unbelievable quality!
This shop has been filling the bellies of broke students, sweets-loving kids and green tea slurping old folks for decades now, so you can see how important this place holds in the Shimokitazawa ecosystem.
I have been a fan of this place since I first tried their "Inari-Zushi" (rice filled pouch of sweetly-boiled deep-fried tofu). Their mouth-watering Inari are ¥80 a piece (¥70 on weekends!) and a true pleasure. When you're used to buy them at convenience stores or super-market where they have had time to dry up on the shelves, these feel oh so juicy... And right enough sweet. Don't leave this place without buying one or several!
I also recommend their beautifully pink-colored "Sekihan" (glutinous rice steamed with Azuki beans) for their taste. The salt and sesame mixture Gomashio on top provides a delicate additional crunchiness to the chewy rice and it's a delight to the teeth!
Sekihan Onigiri (Left) and Inari-Zushi (Right)
The next item has been one of my favorite present for friends or for work-related people for years now. The "Ichigo-Daifuku" (fresh-strawberry-filled round glutinous-rice cake) is the perfect bribe, I promise. The mochi (sticky rice cake) around is chewy enough without being obnoxiously unswallowable and the red beans (that looks black on the below pictures) have a delicate flavor.
I have never seen a hint of disappointment in anyone eating this . I love watching the delighted faces of people chewing in the Daifuku and discovering the juicy strawberry in it. Some shops insert jam instead of the fresh fruit, but NOTHING comes to the real berry, believe me.
One might think that this may be all too sweet with the combination of the fruit and the Anko (sweet red bean paste) around but that's far from being true. The harmony happens to be perfect. Try it and you'll see what I mean. Only hitch: they only serve this during the strawberry season, therefore you might not see it in the shop from mid May to end of October...Hurry up!
Last but not the least, how could I not feature any Dango in a Dangoya post?
Among many sorts, I have first opted for the excellent salty-sweet "Mitarashi-Dango"(covered with a special starch-thickened sauce made of shoyu and sugar) which is quickly grilled before being glazed.
Second choice was the nicely-colored "An Dango" covered with Anko. The green color of the dango might be mistaken for green tea but it is rather coming from the Yomogi (mugwort) they mix with the rice flour. Yomogi is a herb that you won't come across often so for anyone interested, here's an article on that green. The Yomogi adds to the skewer an unbeatable freshness that will go very very well with any slightly bitter green tea or Hoji-cha (charcoal roasted green tea)
An-Dango (Left) Mitarashi-Dango (Right)
Oh, and Daifuku literally means Great Luck, so even if they're out of Ichigo-Daifuku, try their regular Anko ones to replenish yourself with some of that good fortune.
Iseya is open everyday from 09:00am to 19:00pm except on Wednesdays.
The shop is easy to find at about 200+m north from the West exit. Click here for a MAP
Setagaya-ku, Daita 6-5-23