The Fried Sweet Potato: An Unexpected Delicacy in Japan

Back in America, banana splits are a widespread dessert with their wonderfully sweet and creamy texture. But here in Japan–especially during the colder seasons–roasted sweet potatoes (焼きいも) are all the rage. Pairing them with 2 fresh scoops of vanilla ice cream creates a strange but undeniably delicious combination:

The above Sweet Potato Split was purchased from Shibuya’s Mega Don Quixote Cafe on the first floor. What surprises me the most is the fact that sweet potatoes in Japan are purple with yellow filling, whereas they are brown with an orange filling back in the US. In my opinion, these purple ones are much sweeter! I see them eaten plain, but also used in desserts and even as smoothies:

A limited-time sweet potato smoothie with promotion at the popular chain Segafredo.

When you’re in Tokyo and even in the countryside of Japan, you can buy sweet potatoes from grocery stores and street vendors as well for less than 100 yen. Though they have a number of carbohydrates, they are a delicious and relatively healthy alternative to most roasted food. On top of that, you can even find sweet potato drinks in vending machines!

A hot sweet potato beverage I purchased at Shinagawa Station. It tasted like a very sweet cider.

These are just a few of the unique sweet potato products I’ve come across in my travels, but I’ll be sure to be on the look out for more! No matter how you eat them, they will make you feel full and satisfied, like a true comfort food.

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