Saturday, February 19, 2011

watashi no hobakurafuto wa unagi de ippai desu

Konnichiwa! (According to a website listing useful Japanese phrases, the title of this post translates to "my hovercraft is full of eels". My apologies if that is not the case.)

I have to confess that I absolutely love Mistukoshi - the huge store in the Japan pavilion. It's probably my favorite place to window-shop at Walt Disney World... and maybe even buy a few small items. Silly, I know... but for some reason, I just have this thing for Hello Kitty stuff. (Hmmm... wonder why? LOL.)

I haven't resorted to wearing the jewelry or anything (most of my jewelry is much more sophisticated... featuring Mickey Mouse, of course). But I do have quite a collection of Hello Kitty pens and pencils.

Okay, so maybe I got a little sidetracked there, but I did finally make my way to the snacks and treats. There is actually quite a large selection of foods here, but most of it is, not surprisingly, not vegan. (Actually, most of it appears rather strange to my American palette... but then, don't knock it if you haven't tried it, and all that.)

I really thought I had discovered one vegan dark chocolate bar here in the past, so if that's what you're interested in, it's worth another look. This time, though, all I managed to find was hard candy.

There were quite a few different kinds. They had two huge displays of these brightly-colored packages.

Almost everything I found listed the ingredients somewhere in English, so no worries if your translation skills are as bad as mine (read: totally non-existent).

Most of these consisted mainly of sugar and fruit flavoring. There were some that were clearly not vegan, but many that looked vegan to me (aside from concerns about the sugar). I do have the ingredients for everything shown - e-mail me, if you're curious.

One last candy was the first to catch my eye. It's called rice candy, and I used to love this stuff when I was a kid. Each candy is wrapped in an edible rice paper, so it's like both the candy and the wrapper are edible. I just thought that was so cool when I was a little girl. I used to buy this stuff - in the same exact little boxes - from a "Hello Kitty" gift shop not far from my house... too many years ago to mention.

(Ingredients for above: Glucose syrup [corn starch, water], sugar, sweet rice, water, lemon flavor, orange flavor, FD & C Red No. 40 [Allura red AC]. Note that as far as my research shows, this coloring is vegan, but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that.)

I have to say that there are certainly a number of un-vegan items in this shop - beware of a "find your own pearl" counter, and plenty of silk items - but if you can set aside any discomfort, this is a fascinating place to wander and explore. I get more of a feel for the culture here than I do in some of the other country's gift shops. It's one of those places that just feels very exotic, for someone who currently lives in the dead center of "nowhere, Ohio".

One last thing before we leave Japan... while I don't know the ingredients, I do recommend trying to catch Miyuki, the candy artist - just to watch. What she can do with a little bit of colored taffy is just amazing! And she is so charming - just a delight to watch.


Sandy said...

This is my favorite store, too! I'm obsessed with Hello Kitty. Your teaser pictures are really amping me up for my vacation! :) Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Mistukoshi actually had vegan mochi for a little while.. on my most recent trip, however, it was gone :( I'll be sure to check out the things you've suggested, they all look yummy!