Get a taste of some Japanese desserts with chewy, sweet dumplings you can grill yourself, or a super squishy water cake from Mikan Club in Harajuku. The Mikan Club offers these old school staples with a modern twist. Dango is a kind of traditional Japanese sweet dumpling. You can find various kinds of basic dango all over Japan. But if you want to get the chance to grill dango yourself, there’s only one place you can go in Tokyo! Mikan Club gives you the rare opportunity to grill these soft treats yourself with a variety of crazy sauces. Or choose a kind of dango that is highly sought after, the water dango. This transparent beauty is every foodie’s dream dessert!
A Tiny Shop out of History
In the back streets of Harajuku you will find the Urasando Garden store. When entering this store you step back in time to the Meiji Era of Japan. Urasando Garden is not just one store but a building containing five small, individual shops. Each shop specializes on a treats that you could easily find in Meiji Era Japan. These range from green tea delicacies to grilled sweet dumplings. We visited one of these specialty shops inside Urasando Garden, called Mikan Club. Mikan Club is known for its famous jiggly water cakes and soft dango dumplings. While other restaurants might serve standard versions of these traditional sweets, Mikan Club takes these classic recipes and gives them a modern twist.
Before choosing which of their many desserts you want, settle into this cozy restaurant. Littered with old timey trinkets and in structured like a traditional food stall, it really feels like customers go back in time once they sit down.
There is only one staff member working at time to ensure that every customer’s order is a priority and comes out perfectly. Flip through their extensive menu and decide which of their many old-fashioned desserts you want to try.
Out of the Fire and Into Your Belly
If you are feeling adventurous give Mikan Club’s yaki dango a try. Yaki dango is a traditional Japanese sweet made from chewy rice cakes known as mochi. They have been eaten in Japan for hundreds of years. These soft chewy dumplings get grilled to fluffy, warm goodness and then usually covered a variety of sauces including sweet soy sauce, red bean paste, or soybean flour. The way that Mikan Club transforms this outdated delicacy, is by allowing customers to not only grill the dango at their seats, but to allow them to choose from a variety of unusual and delicious sauces.
When ordering the Yaki Dango a portable grill is placed in front of the customer and an oil light is lit underneath.
Each order comes with three skewers contain two dumplings on each. Then comes the difficult part, where you must decided from their many flavors of sauces, which three do you want. Each order comes with only three sauces so choose wisely. The choices are; chili, wasabi, spicy Korean gochujang, curry, cinnamon, ume (also known as pickled plum flavor), o, basil, plain (which is actually similar to a traditional sweet soy sauce flavor), schezwan pepper, yuzu zest with chili peppers, and last but not least pepperoncini.
Peperoncino is actually the number one most popular flavor among male customers, while yuzu zest and chili peppers is most popular among female guests. If you try basil or pepperoncini it might feel like you are eating pasta but in a much chewier form! So grill up your dango and dig in.
Maybe the best part of Mikan Club is their drink set. To get any of their many desserts with a drink it will only cost you 1,000 yen or about $10 USD. That is a pretty fair deal for their gourmet treats. Like with the desserts, there is a wide range of drinks available, from coffee to tea, even freshly made lemonade, you can definitely find something you like to go with your sweets. If you do want to just go for the deserts though, it will cost you about 700 yen or $7 USD for just the yaki dango.
A Cake Fit for Angels
This is their version of mizu dango, also known as water cake. This kind of dessert became very popular online several years ago when chefs discovered this Japanese creation. If you are not familiar a water cake, it is a dessert made to look like a droplet of water. Super jiggly and squishy, this transparent dessert is usually paired with a sauce to make it more flavorful, but on its own it can feel like you are really eating just a drop of water from heaven. Mikan Club matches its water cake with kuromitsu sauce, also known as black sugar sauce. This is very sweet and is a traditional Japanese flavor. As well as, roasted soybean flour called kinako which is originally from Hokkaido and is often mixed with small amount of salt to perfectly match the black sugar syrup taste. These two are almost always eaten together in Japan.
This raindrop cake is almost too beautiful to eat. Mikan Club finishes their creation with a fleck of gold on top to make it truly decadent. When made without sugar these cakes can also be guilt free desserts. The only sweetness coming from the added sauces. If you want to try Mikan Club’s Angel Tear cake be sure to arrive early. There is only a limited number of them available every day and they run out quick!
Mikan Club has a wide selection of desserts, so make sure to visit many times to try them all, not only all the sauce flavors for the yaki dango! They really allow their customers to jump to a quieter time in Japan. Their friendly staff and old fashioned treats are sure to bring smile to everyone’s face.
- Address 4-15-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 1500001, Japan
7 minute walk from Omotesando Station
Hours: 12:00 - 18:00 (L.O. 17:30) on Monday thru Friday, 11:00 - 18:00 (L.O. 17:30) on weekends and National Holidays
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