I apologize for the long hiatus in posting for Bura-Bura Kyoto, two months short of a year actually! To kick off getting regular at posting again, I’m going to introduce 出町ふたばDemachi Futaba, a Japanese sweets store that I had been meaning to introduce in Hitori Kyoto (with the never-ending supply of information on cafés, restaurants and other eat-in places, I wasn’t getting much else in).
Futaba, as I along with many others like to call it, is a Japanese sweets shop founded in 1899. All their sweets are recommended but most people, locals and tourists alike, come for the well-known 豆餅mame-mochi, or bean rice cake, ￥170; it’s so famous that the term, “名代豆餅myoudai mame-mochi (well-known mame-mochi) is added to the name of the shop ☺. The founder was originally from Komatsu, Ishikawa, where mame-mochi has been eaten for a long time and he started the shop wanting to introduce the same habit to the people of Kyoto.
I first heard about it from Mr. Man’s sister who is quite knowledgable when it comes to the good stuff in Kyoto and we went to get some as soon as we could…that day came in late March 2007 and we had to face a LOOONG line before procuring some. The あんこanko, こし餡koshi-an to be exact, or strained sweet red bean paste inside and the salted 赤えんどうaka-endou, or red peas from Furano, Hokkaido, mixed in with the chewy mochi made from 江州米Goushu-mai (high-quality rice from 近江Ohmi) make for an indescribably wonderful experience! Although we got two each, I regretted not getting more; no worries about them expiring before we could eat them (Futaba sweets are good only for the day of purchase, that’s how freshly made that they are)!
I went as often as I could after having the delectable goodies that first time; I even took my parents when they came to visit about a month later. I also took my friend from my days on study abroad in Lyon, Yukiko, to get some before we put her on a bus back to Aichi Prefecture in mid-April 2008.
the shop at 出町Demachi…the front of the line is at the left.
I always wondered why there are hanging mirrors over the counter…
The seasonal or limited-time sweets sell out pretty quickly; I have gone many an occasion hoping to have something different only to find them sold out.
I’d like to say that Futaba is one of the reasons that I became good at waiting in line without blowing a fuse…well, at least not too much☺. Usually expect a three-stranded line, a system thought up by the employees so that the customers of Futaba wouldn’t be in the way of shoppers of other shops in the shopping arcade…I assume the lines aren’t so bad at 8:30am when they open but by late morning until pretty much when they close at 5:30pm or when they run out sweets, you’ll probably see the three-stranded lines I’m talking about, especially on the weekends, public holidays and Kyoto’s heavy tourist seasons. Maybe the weekdays aren’t so bad but I’ve never been on a weekday. Maybe I’ll have to make it over there soon when it’s not a Tuesday or the fourth Wednesday of the month, their days off.
Update: After writing this post, it has been in the back of my mind to go back to Futaba since the last time I went five years ago. I managed to go in a few hours to get to Demachi and make it in time for work.
a display of traditional Japanese candy and sweets on the other side away from the 生菓子nama-gashi (fresh Japanese sweets)
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of the display case with mame-mochi and the likes because I got caught up in the chaos of customers peering and pointing at and shouting their orders and the workers fetching and shouting the orders again in case they heard wrong, and of course the exchange of money and purchase.
I saw they had 黒豆大福kuro-mame daifuku (sweet red bean paste-filled rice cake with black beans), ￥180 (five, six years ago when I was going regularly, it was usually sold out), so I got two of those as well as two of the mame-mochi (in the picture the daifuku is on the left while the mame-mochi is on the right).
The two are quite similar except that the daifuku has sweet black beans (which are bigger) mixed in the mochi and the mame-mochi has salted red peas mixed in the mochi. They were both delicious but mame-mochi is still my favorite by far. I ate one of each kind and gave the rest to my co-worker when I got to work and Mason when I met her later that night.
Update: Two days later, Mason and I were in the area, so we dropped by to get mame-mochi (Mason has been hooked since I gave one to her☺). The line was one-stranded when we got there but by the time we looked back from the front, it had become the usual three strands!
Mason really wanted one of each in the display but since they’re only good for a day, she had to settle for just an いもあん福豆大福fuku-mame daifuku (bean rice cake filled with sweet potato bean paste),￥170, and a mame-mochi.
I got a mame-mochi, too, and an いもあんだんごimo-an dango (dumplings on a stick topped with sweet potato bean paste), ￥170.
The imo-an was less sweet and a nice change from the usual bean paste but the dango was less chewy than the mame-mochi and daifuku…my opinion that mame-mochi is the best remains the same. ☺
Update: About a year since the last time I went with Mason, we went back at Mason’s request to get some mame-mochi before she left Japan for a while the coming weekend.
The ingredients are made in the back while behind the counter workers put together the sweets.
There were plenty of nama-gashi this day.
I had to get a mame-mochi of course and I finally got a 栗餅kuri-mochi (chestnut rice cake), ￥200, too!
The mame-mochi was as delicious as I remembered it to be. I also thoroughly enjoyed the kuri-mochi: the subtly sweet red-bean paste inside the chewy rice cake was complemented by the chestnut that was also subtle in sweetness and the sprinkling of kinako…I’d love to have it again.