What Do Cherry Blossoms Taste Like?

Sakura Goromo is a traditional Japanese wagashi that is infused with dried cherry blossoms. Have you ever wondered what the petals of Sakura Trees taste like?

Today we’ll take a look at Sakura inspired creations and how they stack up against other Japanese snacks.

This Article has been updated for 2022.

I’ve always vaguely wondered what Cherry Blossoms tasted like, but never had the opportunity to try them until now.

Usually, the Japanese convenience stores I frequent are either out of stock, or I somehow missed the seasonal cherry blossom food selection altogether.

Due to a freak accident that happened after trying sushi a few years ago, I am now allergic to most nuts and seafood – so I tend to stay away from numerous foodstuffs I’m not sure about.

Dango, mocha, daifuku, and senbei are some of my favorite traditional snacks.

Kinako dango, koshian mochi, dorayaki, and strawberry daifuku also hold special places in my heart. Mainly, anything with adzuki beans, matcha, or (Hokkaido) cream are safe foods I have tried in the past.

Where I Found Cherry Blossom Flavored Snacks

I attended Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual Sakura Matsuri this past Saturday and visited a traditional sweets stand. Amongst a sea of money grabs, they were a few beacons of hope.

I do know and respect that the Gardens have to make their investment back somehow aside from ticket sales, and a la movie theatre concessions stands that is why the prices were so inflated.

However, I cannot find any good justification for onigiri being $8.00 when I know convenience stores around the city sell them for $2.00. Or the $20.00 karaage that at certain places cost a healthy $4.00 at most.

But I digress, we are getting off track.

The inflation of snack prices is a growing pet peeve of mine born the first time I attended Liberty City Anime Con.  I had never been to a non-profit convention before and it was a bit of culture shock coming from big cons like NYCC and Anime Expo with wholesaled merchandise.

What Does Wagashi Mean In Japanese?

Wagashi [和菓子] translates to “traditional Japanese confectionary”.

Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets and confections that are often paired with green tea. The treats are often made with natural native ingredients such as the rice-based mochi, azuki beans or anko, and fruit to create a diverse array of shapes, textures, and flavors within the sweets.

I purchased two traditional wagashi snacks, Sakura Mochi and Sakura Goromo.

Sakura Mochi and Sakura Goromo wagashi snacks
Sakura Mochi and Sakura Goromo wagashi snacks

We are going to talk about the latter today.

This is also my first ever time trying to review a food, so bear with my less than eloquent descriptions of these foods.

The last time I visited my grandma in Albuquerque was in 2010; I purchased random things from the local Vietnamese market. One of those things was a bamboo sushi roller mat. It has literally sat in a drawer in the corner of my room the past eight years waiting to find purpose within its inanimate object life. 

On a cloudy day in April, its day has finally come.

(I also felt the need to cover up the Kokopelli placemats a bit.)

Sure, I should have broken out the porcelain blue dragon Chinese teapot for aesthetic reasons and the pretty white plates in the cabinet – but I wanted a more rustic look.

Also, that means I’d have to wash dishes and that’s not something I’m keen on doing at 7 am on a Monday morning.

Is Wagashi The Same As Mochi?

Mochi is considered one of many types of Japanese wagashi.

Dorayaki, Yokan, Daifuku, Dango, Manju, taiyaki, and the fruit dish anmitsu are a few other popular varieties of Japanese wagashi.

What Is The Main Ingredient In Wagashi?

Most wagashi are created with simple ingredients like rice flour, adzuki beans, and agar – a gelatinous substance that is originally derived from seaweed and processed for use in various baked and cooked dishes.

I appreciated that Minamoto Kitchoan had ingredient inscriptions along with displays at their booth. Despite this, however, I still read the ingredients myself on the back of the package.

The Sakura Goromo I tried from Minamoto Kitchoan was made primarily from sugar, red beans (adzuki), salted cherry blossom, rice, and agar for texture.

The nutritional facts label of the Sakura Goromo treat
The nutritional facts label of the Sakura Goromo treat

I find that sometimes if anchovies or other fish products are added to Japanese packaged foods, they will not be in the bottom ‘allergen’ section. You have to scan every single ingredient to find it hidden in the third or fourth row of text.

My favorite senbei ‘Yuki no Yado’ somewhere along the way began adding fish into the mix and for dietary reasons, I had to switch to a different brand.

Or there is the issue of going to Bento shops or restaurants and mentioning you have a seafood allergy ( saying: “シーフードアレルギーがあります” aloud in Japanese) and sometimes still being offered miso soup containing dashi fish stock.

I know this is due to the fact that traditional Japanese food dishes are primarily seafood-based, and vegetarianism isn’t really a thing there. 

With this in mind, I tread lightly with my excitement over these snacks.

Unwrapping The Sakura Goromo Wagashi

The Sakura Goromo has a crepe-like outside texture with a smooth, soft creamy anko paste inside
The Sakura Goromo has a crepe-like outside texture with a smooth, soft creamy anko paste inside

I’m sure the crepe-like outer shell was a lot less porous at the time of my purchase, but being out in the sun all day and then later sitting in the fridge for two days left it a bit deflated.

I used scissors to open the packaging, which was quite sturdy. Opening it a strong floral smell mixed with cinnamon wafted into my nostrils. I also smelled the adzuki bean cake mixture.

A dried sakura blossom petal on top
A dried sakura blossom petal on top

The freshness packet lay on the bottom of the neatly folded treat. There was a dried pink blossom pressed into its surface, and turning it on its side you can see red bean paste.

Possibly tsubushian anko, as it seems the beans were mashed with their skins. Or it could be koshian anko, which is most commonly used in snacks and has the skins removed.

Does Cherry Blossom Have A Flavor?

Surprisingly, salted cherry blossoms taste almost spicy, like a mixture between cinnamon or cardamon.

The sakura goromo up close. Note the dried, but still slightly moist appearance of the flower
The Sakura Goromo up close. Note the dried, but still slightly moist appearance of the flower

I bit into the center and was pleasantly surprised by the strong taste of cinnamon spices and an actual leaf. Now the ingredients on the back say that it contains a leaf, but for some reason, I wasn’t prepared for it to be hidden within the anko mixture.

Do You Eat The Leaf On Sakura Mochi?

I laughed out loud as it reminded me of the first time I tried Kashiwa Mochi at Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day festival. 

I remember asking if the oak leaf surrounding the mochi was edible.

I was told by a Japanese friend that generally if a leaf is surrounding mochi it is usually just a decoration meant to hold the rice. However, if the leaf is inside of the wagashi, it can generally be eaten.

I now think next time I purchase that particular mochi I will try to eat the oak leaf, as the leaves are now in the salad blend I’m purchasing for my diet.

Taking a bite of the Sakura Goromo - leaf included!
Taking a bite of the Sakura Goromo – leaf included!

The leaf by itself has a sort of musky, almost spicy taste. Similar to cardamom or Moroccan spices. The cherry blossom itself taste a bit watery and almost pink.

Is that a thing? Can a food taste like the color it is?

It is not necessarily sweet or bitter, and the sakura petal is a bit papery going down.

A side profile of the wagashi filled with red bean paste
A side profile of the wagashi filled with red bean paste

I have coffee made which I plan on drinking after this review, but the traditional pairing of teas would have gone splendidly with this treat.

Eating the last morsel of the cake, I am very satisfied with the taste.

The inside of the Sakura Goromo and its anko paste
The inside of the Sakura Goromo and its anko paste

In the past I’ve watched YouTubers trying cherry blossom tea and other treats at festivals and remarking that it tasted like salt.

I tasted nothing salty about this, only sweetness and musk. It also left a really great aftertaste in my mouth.

Sakura Goromo Is A Great Japanese Wagashi

I’d like to try many more wagashi, but for now, we’ll leave this review here.

The review of Sakura Mochi wagashi will soon follow this one. Ideally, I’d like to bring more reviews of obscure snacks to the site.

If you are in the New York area, Minamoto Kitchoan has locations in the World Trade Center Store and on Madison Ave. They are also online.

While I would recommend you inspect the wagashi in person if not ordering from a reputed vendor (as it is very volatile and prone to spoil quickly if not stored correctly), a great option to order online would be tea.

Who knows? A nice sakura-flavored green tea could be the kick needed to send that Japanese snacking experience just over the edge!

Have you tried cherry blossom-flavored snacks before?

Sakura Goromo is a delicious treat to eat to celebrate the springtime
Sakura Goromo is a delicious treat to eat to celebrate the springtime

What is your favorite traditional Japanese wagashi to eat?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Traditional Japanese snack reviews!  

We are also creating East Asian pop culture-inspired designs for fellow fans, Visit our Redbubble store if you have a chance – you get cool gear, and it helps support the blog!      

☆ In Asian Spaces   

Twitter Patreon Pinterest BlogLovin 

Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

3 thoughts on “What Do Cherry Blossoms Taste Like?”

  1. You arouse my curiosity for Japanese snacks. I don’t know them at all and it tempts me to make culinary discoveries. I would have liked to try the Sakura Goromo treat, but I see on the packaging that it contains wheat flour and I have a food intolerance to gluten. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to taste the cherry blossoms in another form one day. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: