Ask any Japanese what Ehime Prefecture is famous for, and the most common answer you get is “mikan” (tangerine oranges). The sheer number of mikan produced is impressive in itself, but the icing on the cake is their fantastic flavor. Great weather conditions and the area’s topography allow for the growing of exquisite mikan. Over the past few years, various new strains have been cultivated and developed, so now you can eat delicious mikan all year round.
In this article I will introduce one of the best and modern mikan sweets Ehime has to offer.
Seikodo is a Japanese sweets store located in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture. Established 60 years ago, it maintains its traditional flavors, but also strives to create new, modern ones. The shop’s confectioner’s name is Bill Leon-Guerrero. Bill used to live with his wife in Guam, and work as an emergency paramedic. Seikodo is his wife’s family business, and when his father-in-law became ill, the couple moved back to Japan to take it over. This was his first time to ever make Japanese sweets.
He went through many hardships in order to learn how to make the sweets in the traditional way. But, in the end he was able to come up with a blend of old traditions and modern ideas. Under the brand Ichifuku Hyakka, Seikodo has developed a variety of products using seasonal fruits, but the most popular is without doubt the Whole Mikan Daifuku (soft round rice cake filled with sweet bean jam).
The shop’s shelves are lined with yummy looking sweets and treats. Products range from the traditional monaka (red beans jam wafer) Wanbune, to the modern Ichifuku Hyakka series. It is evident that Seikodo embraces both the traditional and the modern.
The wall is covered with the signatures and kind comments of customers. The shop has a constant stream of customers who have heard the rumors of the flavorful Japanese sweets.
This is the hugely popular Whole Mandarin Daifuku. The label bears an image of the cross-section of a mikan and is pretty adorable. I can’t wait to open it up! It’s so exciting!
Round and cute, the whole mikan daifuku idea was conceived when Bill and his wife looked at a strawberry daifuku and thought about what else could be used. They tried mikan, and hey presto, the whole mikan daifuku was born. However, the process of taking the idea and turning it into the tasty treat it is today has taken several years. While finding the perfect mikan was a key issue, many improvements have been made along the way.
The orange-colored mikan turns the daifuku into a flowery piece of art. While the daifuku is not yet sold in this particular size, Seikodo has managed to secure a mikan producer who says that they ‘want their mikan to be used with affection’.
Fresh and juicy, the mikan goes well with the daifuku. While the filling is sweet white bean jam, it is not so sweet that it overpowers the sweetness of the mikan. The combination is perfect. Stored frozen, the daifuku should be thawed before eating. If you eat it fully thawed, it has a nice doughy texture. When only half-thawed, it is almost like a sorbet. It’s delicious twice over!
The Whole Mikan Daifuku is a supreme sweet from Ehime – the mikan capital of Japan. They are also available to order, so please try some!
Address: 1-5-33 Hiashimuraminami, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture
Business hours: 8:30 – 18:30
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer Maki Ohashi
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