Y - Asia - Unique

Yakimo

?

Taste: 3

Texture: 1

Novelty: 1.5

All scores out of 5

Japanese people really love sweet potatoes, but not as a side dish with dinner. Japanese sweets are littered with sweet potato treats, and I think it all comes from a popular treat known as Yakimo. The traditional way to get Yakimo is not in a package, instead there are trucks that go through neighbourhoods, blaring music, selling warm baked sweet potatoes to kids and adults alike. It's best western comparison is the ice cream man, only with sweet potatoes instead of ice cream. It may sound a little strange to us, but sweet potatoes can be really tasty, and they're a bit healthier than ice cream.

While a fresh baked sweet potato is probably pretty tasty, a sweet potato that's been stuffed into a sealed bag for several weeks, or months, isn't really that great. The flavour of the sweet potato is fine, but the texture is awful. This would be like if someone was to make French fries, seal them in a bag and sell them a month later. The texture is soggy, floppy, and really chewy, nothing like you'd expect from a tuber. I can't think of any way of selling Yakimo in a packaged form that would work, and this is proof of that.

If you're really used to eating sweet potatoes as a sweet/savoury side dish, you may find it difficult to switch your taste buds over to accepting it as a sweet treat. Sweet potato ice cream is what made me re-think this vegetable as a sweet. Unfortunately if you want to taste the traditional Japanese snacks that made the sweet potato famous as a sweet treat, you really have to go to Japan and find a Yakimo truck.