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Midarasi dango at Takayama

Dango is a Japanese dumpling and snack made from rice flour. Usually three to five dango are served on a skewer. There are dango stands throughout Japan.

It is similar to mochi, which also made from rice flour. The differences are:

1) The shape - dango is a ball but mochi is round or square/rectangle shape.

2) Dango is with a skewer but mochi is not with a skewer.

3) Mochi is much sticky than dango

4) Japanese eat mochi on New Year's day but not dango

5) Uncooked mochi are sold in stores but dango not. Dango is always sold as ready to eat.

As same as mochi, there are sweet dango and savory dango. Sweet dango can be covered with sweet red beans or sweet soy sauce glaze. The dango with sweet soy sauce glaze is called mitarashi-dango.

The typical savory dango is yaki-dango; grilled dango. Dango is either boiled or steamed dumpling but yaki-dango are dipped into a soy sauce and then grilled after the dango were boiled/steamed. Yaki-dango can be wrapped with sea weed.

Takayama in Gifu prefecture has a local specialty dango called Midarashi-dango. It sounds similar to mitarashi-dango but it is not sweet at all and it is grilled. On the other hand, mitarashi-dango is not grilled.

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