Anpan is a Japanese sweet roll most commonly filled with red bean paste known as Anko. Anpan is also found stuffed with other delicious traditional fillings including white beans, roasted sesame seeds and chestnuts. Anpan is made with a kind of rice yeast called sakedane, which is also used to make sake, a mildly alcoholic beverage popular in Japan.
Anpan was invented in the late 19th century, and it immediately became tremendously popular. Although people in Japan were not familiar with bread back then, they grew to like Anpan, which was similar to traditional Japanese sweets because of the use of Anko.
These buns, filled with moist, sweet Azuki bean paste, make for a healthy snack or an alternative to donuts for breakfast. They’re mildly sweet and rather dense, so the perfect accompaniment is considered to be a glass of milk (though you could substitute coffee or tea, of course).
Today, there are a lot of sweet breads at Japanese bakeries with all sorts of breads and fillings, using creams and fruit jams, but Anpan is still the most beloved of them all. It is sweet, soft, and nostalgic. It’s one of the most popular snacks for Japanese children, and loved by adults as well. There’s even a cartoon superhero called Anpan-man!
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