Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nuts for Mame-Gen

Mame-Gen is one of the most popular shops in the Azabu Juban area, to judge from the number of people I always see carrying their distinctive green bags around the neighborhood. They sell traditional, old-fashioned snacks, mainly beans and nuts in various flavors. Mame means bean, and Gen means source, and this shop is definitely the place to go if you're looking for a wide range of crunchy, sweet-and-salty treats. In the photo above, the pink labeled package at left contains roasted and sweetened broad beans, the middle one has soybeans in a soy powder and green tea flavored coating, and the package at right has brandied almonds. In back, hard to see, there are brown-sugar-coated peanuts and yogurt-coated beans. And the shops sells about a million other flavors.
Though beans are the specialty here, they also sell a smaller range of rice crackers and sweets such as karinto, the fried, black-sugar-sweetened snack I wrote about in the last post, dried fruit, and hard candy. The fried rice crackers are actually made there in the store (or at least some of them are) and the frying machine is right there in the front window. If your timing is right, you can take home a hot bag of just-fried crackers. Or at least get a sample to taste.
Azabu-Juban 1-8-12
Minato-ku, Tokyo

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