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Jan 3, 2023

HOW TODorayaki and Other Sweets that Pair Well with Japanese Tea

Scones and crumpets go well with English Tea, but which sweets pair well with Japanese tea? There’s more to Japanese sweets than just mochi and daifuku, so let’s take a look at what else pairs well with Japanese-style afternoon tea.

Jan 3, 2023

A crowd favorite for sweet lovers: Dorayaki 

Dorayaki is a popular traditional snack that is available throughout Japan. Based on appearance alone, you might be fooled into thinking that dorayaki is simply an anko pancake sandwich, but the ingredients used in making dorayaki are vastly different from your Sunday breakfast! In fact, dorayaki pancakes use two different types of flour, four different sweeteners, eggs and milk, making them considerably more complex than your average pancake.

Dorayaki pairs well with any variety of Japanese green tea, including hojicha (roasted green tea) or genmaicha (Japanese brown rice green tea). While your choice of tea depends largely on personal preference, dorayaki is the perfect partner for your Japanese-style afternoon tea adventures.

You might have seen a blue cat from the future snacking on these in a popular anime. 

Monaka azuki bean wafer sandwiches

Similar to dorayaki, monaka is a traditional snack that features anko in the middle, but instead of pancakes, monaka use two thin outer layers that are incredibly made from rice flour! They’re wonderfully crispy and fun to eat. The delicate shell and the sweetness of the red bean paste both complement Japanese green tea very well.

There are many kinds of monaka out there, and while you can typically find them shaped like shells or squares, you can also find some shaped like cats, bells, snowmen or even traditional Japanese masks. Fillings can also vary, and some confectioners add Japanese chestnut in the center for an additional burst of flavor.

We guarantee these monaka won’t haunt your dreams. 

Rich and sweet manju to overload your senses

Manju are traditional Japanese sweets – small, round steamed cakes filled with sweet bean paste (either red or white). The fluffy exterior of these sweets, combined with the silky, sweet bean paste compliments the bitterness of green tea perfectly. The incredible harmony of flavor must be tasted to be believed! Manju are such a staple pairing with green tea, they’re often used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Common fillings for manju include red bean paste or white bean paste, but versions featuring cream cheese or custard are also popular. Our favorite? Momiji manju from Hiroshima. Shaped like Japanese maple leaves, these traditional snacks represent the peak of Japanese seasonality and make for perfect souvenirs for friends back home.

Surprise! Western sweets that also pair well with Japanese tea 

You might think that only traditional Japanese sweets would really pair green tea, but Western sweets can complement Japanese tea very well too. Western sweets with rich flavors and silky textures, like cheesecake, canneles or even chocolate truffles might pair best. 

Similar to the Japanese confections above, the sweetness of these desserts are powerful enough to offset the slight bitterness of Japanese tea, meaning it will refresh your palate with every sip. Whether you choose Japanese sweets or a favorite classic from your country, we hope you find something to perfectly pair with a nice Japanese style afternoon tea session.