Monday, January 26, 2009

gochika

Remember the Osaka book? Well, when I saw the photo of the candied fruits and veggies I immediately thought of Shung Chong Yuein, the sweet shop which unfortunately no longer exists in Hawaii's Chinatown.

Last year when I was home, I visited Chinatown with Nate and he took me to his cousin's shop who was selling tong guo, the candied fruits and veggies for Chinese New Year.

For me, even though I'm not Chinese, it just isn't Chinese New Year unless I eat some tong guo.

So, I wanted to get the candied fruits and veggies from the book. Of course I had never tried it, but it looked similar.

Apparently, Tourindo, the makers of this candy, started making them in 1929, as a way to showcase the fresh fruits and veggies from the area.

They originally had five different fruits and veggies which ranged in five different colors, green from the butterbur, white from the lotus root, red from the carrot, yellow from the kumquat and black from the fig. Apparently these colors symbolized the wisdom one received from the various fruits and vegetables.

The name of the product is gochika (go = 5, chi = wisdom, ka = fruit or vegetable). When you bite into it, it is quite sweet, but the flavor of the fruit or vegetable shines through.

The set that I bought had 9 different items for 1260 yen (about US$12.60), shoga (ginger), kinkan (kumquat), ninjin (carrot), renkon (lotus root), fuki (butterbur), orange peel, yonashi (pear), gobo (burdock) & ichijiku (fig).

Apparently throughout the year the types of fruits and veggies that are candied changes. They also list grapefruit, eggplant, celery, shiitake, cucumber and many others depending on what they can get.

Even though it was pricey, I'm glad I tried this, with some pu-erh tea, it has started my Chinese New Year off nicely.

Kung Hee Fat Choy!

Tourindo
8-19-1 Yamamoto-cho-minami
Yao, Osaka
Phone: 072.923.0003

20 comments:

Phoebe said...

Delicious!! I want to eat it! Especially carrot! Happy Chinese New Year! haha cantonese phrase at the end of your post was funny; its correct!

Lori said...

Very pretty!! :)

K and S said...

Thanks Phoebe :)

Thanks Lori :)

Take care you two.
Kat

Abigail said...

Sounds really yummy!

Xin nian kuai le! :)

K and S said...

Abigail,

Not sure what you said in Chinese, but I'm pretty sure you aren't swearing :)

Take care.
Kat

Abigail said...

You're right - nothing controversial, just happy new year! :)

K and S said...

*whew* :)

Take care Abigail!

Kat

OkiHwn said...

No more my favorite though - the coconut strips! Though the renkon is not far behind.

K and S said...

I know! I miss those coconut strips too, Nate :)

Take care.
Kat

Rowena said...

Whoa, now that's several steps ahead of gummy bears!

K and S said...

ooh you had gummy bears, Rowena?? sounds good :)

Take care.
Kat

Gwen said...

Kat, the Shung Chong Yuein Bakery is back in business. Same location, renamed Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery and run by relatives of the original owner. (Article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin on 1/21/09).
Kung Hee Fat Choy!

tofugirl said...

Whoa, candied eggplant and shiitake...that sounds interesting! Please do let us know if you manage to try one of those!

Happy new year!

K and S said...

I read the article Gwen, but I guess I missed that info, will check it out the next time I'm home, thank you! :)

Will definitely let you know if I try it tofugirl!

Take care you two.
Kat

Lynne said...

That is so interesting! Looks very tasty! I hope you enjoy the bringing in of the Chinese New Year. Blessings!

K and S said...

Thanks Lynne, Happy Lunar New Year to you too :)

Take care.
Kat

Debinhawaii said...

Happy New Year! I love all the different flavors you got to try in your set. (Cucumber sounds intriguing too).

K and S said...

Thanks Deb, HNY to you too, yes cucumber sounds intriguing too :)

Take care.
Kat

Peko-P said...

Wow! I thought that I knew a whole lot about Chinese food but I had never even heard about Tong Guo. I do know what 'tong' means, though!

Candied renkon and gobo don't sound particularly yummy, but I'd give 'em a try.

P

K and S said...

Peko-P,
I think renkon takes the sweetness of the sugar and gobo is kind of earthy but sweet, I hope you get a chance to try this.
Take care.
Kat