Hakata, located in Fukuoka Prefecture, is renowned for its culinary delights. Among these, Meigetsudo’s “Hakata Torimon” stands out as a cherished symbol from this food-centric town, which is famous for its delicious tonkotsu ramen, mentaiko, udon, and hearty offal hot pot. Many have had the pleasure of receiving this treat as a gift. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Hakata Torimon so appealing and share a sincere story from the artisans at Meigetsudo, who craft this delectable delight.
What is Hakata Torimon?
Hakata Torimon is a delightful manju, created by Meigetsudo, an establishment with roots dating back to 1929. This delightful treat made its debut in 1993, right in the heart of Fukuoka Prefecture, a place well-known for its manju. The idea behind it was simple: “Let’s create a manju that’s truly unique to Japan!”
As a result, the taste of Hakata Torimon quickly gained fame, thanks to media coverage and enthusiastic word-of-mouth reviews. Today, it’s a beloved snack and a must-have souvenir from Hakata. Notably, it has earned international recognition, winning the prestigious Monde Selection Gold Award for 20 years in a row. Its popularity is such that some Americans even serve it at home parties.
By the way, the name “Torimon” originates from the Hakata dialect, used to describe the performers who play shamisen and taiko drums during the lively Hakata Dontaku Port Festival.
The Initial idea of Hakata Torimon
Back in the mid-1980s, the folks at Meigetsudo embarked on a mission to create some truly special Hakata Western Japanese sweets. Now, it wasn’t all smooth sailing at the start, but here’s the interesting twist: their loyal customers really missed Meigetsudo’s delicious steamed buns, and that got the creative wheels turning. This deep connection with their customers led them to kickstart a project with a very clear goal: making amazing manju that not only tasted better with time but was also made from top-notch ingredients. The secret sauce here was their careful selection of high-quality stuff. They brought in butter, milk, and eggs to level up the manju’s quality. To choose the best butter for a smooth and rich texture, they add fresh cream, and select the finest, bright yellow eggs from healthy chickens. They even went as far as picking white beans for the paste that were all the same in shape and size.
The Birth of Hakata Torimon
Creating Hakata Torimon was quite a challenge. After lots of tries and taste tests, they made a special manju that was different from the usual ones. This manju’s outer part and the inside bit came together and got better with time, unlike others that fell apart. They called it the “Masterpiece Manju” because it was a special treat made with hard work and never giving up, to give customers something great.
In 1993 (Heisei 5), Hakata Torimon showed up in the world. It sold more than they thought it would and ran out on the first day at Fukuoka Airport. They named it after the “Torimon” parade, which came before the big “Hakata Dontaku” festival, one of the famous ones in Japan. People from other countries wanted it, and it became a hit at parties in America, even with ballerinas in England.
International recognition and today’s Hakata Torimon
Hakata Torimon’s remarkable qualities didn’t stop at Japan’s borders. It won the famous Monde Selection Gold Award for over 20 years, starting with a Gold Award in 2001. It also received other prestigious awards like the Honorary President’s Award and the Tea Ceremony Master Award.
Today, Hakata Torimon is a symbol of Hakata’s great cooking enjoyed not only in Japan but around the globe. Meigetsudo’s strong focus on quality and new ideas has made its mark in the world of sweets. With over 80 years of hard work and a promise of the best quality, Meigetsudo aims to keep making unique and top-quality Hakata Western sweets, ensuring a lasting legacy even as it enters its hundredth year.
Hakata Torimon Q&A
- What sets Hakata Torimon apart from other manju?
Hakata Torimon is distinct because of its innovative approach. Its outer layer and filling meld together, improving with time instead of separating, defying traditional norms. It’s received international acclaim, including over 20 consecutive Monde Selection Gold Awards. Meigetsudo’s commitment to using premium ingredients like butter, milk, and eggs ensures a luxurious texture and extraordinary taste.
- Where can you find Hakata Torimon today?
Hakata Torimon is available not only in Japan but also internationally. It’s commonly found at airports and is often chosen as a souvenir by travelers. Additionally, it has gained popularity at home parties, even in countries like the United States and among ballerinas in England.
How to make Hakata Torimon?
|Ingredients (For 4 pieces)||Measurements|
|For outer fabric|
|Baking powder||1/2 teaspoon|
|For the butter milk bean paste|
|White bean paste or red bean paste||80g|
|Butter or margarine||5g|
Mix buttermilk bean paste, room temperature butter, and condensed milk well.
In a bowl, mix the condensed milk and egg yolks for the bun dough, taking care not to create foam.
Sift the flour and baking powder mixture into the mixture from Step 2 and blend them together.
Shape the dough from Step 3 into a stick, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let it cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Cut the chilled dough into pieces and roll them out thinly, sprinkling with flour as needed.
Place the red bean paste prepared in Step 1 on top of the thinly rolled out dough.
Neatly wrap the bean paste with the dough, lightly press the surface, and then place it on a baking sheet. Spray it with mist and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 to 20 minutes.
After baking, do not eat the Hakata Torimon immediately. Instead, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until the next day or the day after. This will allow the dough to become moist and ready to eat.
Your Hakata Torimin is ready to be served! Itadakimasu!
Tips for cooking
To make your Hakata Torimon even more delightful, consider the following optional steps:
Alternative bean paste
If you don’t have white bean paste, you can also make delicious red bean paste. It offers a unique flavor twist for your Torimon.
If you have a steamer, try lightly steaming your Hakata Torimon. After steaming, bake them in a preheated oven at 180°C for 5 to 10 minutes without misting. If you prefer, dust your hands with flour to make handling the dough easier. Making the dough thin and adding plenty of red bean paste can give your Torimon a classic appearance. You have the option of using store-bought white bean paste or homemade white bean paste. For an extra level of deliciousness and beauty, consider steaming it once and then baking it.
Please note that this recipe is an attempt to replicate the flavors of the original product and is not the official recipe from the company. If you’d like to try making it at home, you can use this recipe as a starting point.
Meigetsudo is a renowned confectionery company that takes great pride in crafting the finest Hakata Torimon. With an extensive network of stores across Japan, they have perfected the art of creating these irresistible treats. Meigetsudo’s unwavering dedication to quality and innovative spirit has propelled them to the forefront of the Hakata Torimon world. Each bite of their manju embodies the true essence of Hakata, making Meigetsudo an essential destination for those in search of an authentic and delightful taste of this unique delicacy.
Furthermore, Meigetsudo is a well-established company with a wide array of delightful offerings, and their presence extends far and wide across Japan. If you’re eager to explore more about their numerous locations and the delectable treats they have to offer, simply click here for additional details.
In conclusion, Hakata Torimon is a delightful Japanese treat enjoyed by people worldwide. Meigetsudo, the driving force behind it, has consistently pursued quality and exceptional flavor. Its numerous accolades, including the Monde Selection Gold Award, testify to its popularity. Hakata Torimon stands today as a beloved snack, a testament to Meigetsudo’s unwavering commitment to crafting outstanding confections. So, wherever you may be, why not explore this delectable snack? You can give it a try using our simple recipes.
If you are interested in other Japanese sweets, you can find out more below!