Kurimanju (A steamed yeast bun with filling and Japanese chestnut) (栗饅頭)
Kurimanju, one of traditional Japanese confectioneries, is a type of manju (a bun stuffed with azuki-bean paste). Sometimes it refers to the manju which uses Japanese chestnuts for the jam. Sometimes it refers to the manju which was baked after brushing some egg yolk on the surface to create chestnut-like color, shine, and shape. Or sometimes it refers to the manju which are made using the above two methods.
White bean jam is used for most of Kurimanju. There are many types of Kurimanju, such as the Kurimanju which has the boiled-smashed-chestnut paste mixed with white bean jam and the Kurimanju with a whole boiled-chestnut inside. Many of the Kurimanju sold at supermarkets and other stores have the dark brown color created by baking them after putting some egg yolk on top. Sometimes red poppy seeds are sprinkled at the bottom part of a chestnut-shaped Kurimanju. Since chestnuts and white bean jam are used, they taste really sweet on their own. However, the manufactures of Kurimanju make various efforts to reduce the sweetness so that they become more palatable for the customers who don't have sweet tooth.
Kurimanju as a souvenir
Kurimanju, one of the most popular traditional Japanese confectioneries, is sold at many supermarkets and convenience stores. There are many manufactures all over Japan which have made Kurimanju for a long time; some of which have turned out to be the local specialties or souvenirs of the regions.
Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Kogetsudo, located in Kokurakita Ward, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, has made their own Kurimanju since the company was established in 1895. The Kurimanju is a local specialty of Kokura. At the time when the company was established, their Kurimanju gained a high reputation because people bought it as the "Kachiguri" (literally "a winning chestnut"), praying for a victory in the Japanese-Sino War and the Japanese-Russo War. Nowadays, the Kurimanju is one of the typical souvenirs of Kitakyushu City. The author, Seicho MATSUMOTO, who was originally from Kokurakita Ward, Kitakyushu City, talks about the Kurimanju in a television commercial.
The Kurimanju produced by Tanaka-kyokueido (a confectionery shop) is a local specialty of Nagasaki Prefecture since the middle of the Meiji period. There are various sizes of Kurimanju, ranging from a small one to a big one with a whole chestnut inside. The Kurimanju won the top award, the Honorary President Award, at the 21st National Confectionery Exposition (held in Matsue City) in 1988. It was called "the sweetest manju in Nagasaki" because in order to keep good quality in the summer, the chestnuts were boiled in syrup until all the syrup was dissolved. The name of the product trademark is "Kuri-ohji" (literally "Chestnut Prince").