How to Eat Yokan (Yokan Eating Guide)

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We all know that yokan is a delicious Japanese dessert, but what exactly is it?

Yokan is made from red bean paste and agar (a seaweed-based thickener), and it has a jelly-like consistency.

How to eat Yokan guide
How to eat Yokan

It can be eaten cold or warm, and it’s a popular snack food in Japan.

In This Article – We’ll show you how to eat yokan like a pro. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to enjoy this tasty treat…

History of Yokan

Yokan (sheep soup) was introduced to Japan during the Kamakura-Muromachi period (between 1185 and 1573) when a monk studied abroad in China.

At the time, it was known as “rakuyaki” and was made with sweet bean paste and wheat flour.

The history of Yokan
The history of Japanese Yokan

During the Edo period (1603-1868), yokan became more popular in Japan and began to be made with red bean paste.

The first recorded recipe for yokan dates back to 1804, and it was made with red bean paste, sugar, and agar.

Agar is a seaweed-based thickener that is often used in Japanese desserts. It is what gives yokan its jelly-like consistency.

How to Eat Yokan

Yokan is a type of Japanese dessert made from red bean paste, sugar, and agar. It is typically served in small squares or rectangles and can be eaten with a spoon or chopsticks.

Sugar makes up about 60% of yokan.

Yokan is suggested to be consumed in modest portions.

If you’re eating yokan with a spoon, use the back of the spoon to cut off a small piece.

If you’re using chopsticks, break off a small piece. Put the yokan in your mouth and let it melt slowly to enjoy the full flavor.

Using a toothpick, cut off a small piece of yokan.

If you’re using chopsticks, break off a small piece. Put the yokan in your mouth and let it melt slowly to enjoy the full flavor.

Youkan is sticky so I don’t eat it by hand. I use a small fork, or toothpicks to eat it.

When I went to Japan, I saw many people using their fingers to eat Youkan.

I think the traditional way to eat Youkan is by using chopsticks, but you can use whatever utensil you feel comfortable with.

Toothpicks are commonly provided at Japanese restaurants in America, so if you are unsure of how to eat Youkan, just ask your waiter or waitress for a toothpick.

Types of Yokan

Types of Japanese Yokan
Types of Yokan

Kneaded yokan

In Japan, the most common type of yokan is kneaded yokan.

Kneaded yokan comes in a variety of tastes including:

  • brown sugar
  • matcha
  • honey
  • and dried fruits

The filling is made by kneading red bean paste with a small amount of glutinous rice flour to create a smooth, dense texture.


By using less agar, Mizuyokan has a softer feel.

Yokan eating guide explained
Yokan eating guide

Mizuyokan is sweeter than kneaded yokan because of the reduced amount of agar used.

The harmony of red bean paste and yokan jelly is marvelous.

Imo Yokan

Imo Yokan is made from sweet potatoes, sugar, and salt.

It is a thick, jelly-like dessert that is often served chilled.

Chestnut Yokan

Japanese chestnut Yokan type
Japanese chestnut Yokan

Chestnut yokan contains chestnuts boiled sweetly with sugar.

The chestnuts are then mashed and mixed with red bean paste to create a thick, sweet filling.

Where Can You Buy Yokan?

Unfortunately, yokan can be difficult to find in stores.

If you’re looking for a good place to buy yokan, here are some tips.

The first place to look for yokan is in a Japanese grocery store.

Buy Yokan
Where to buy Yokan

If you live in an area with a large Japanese population, there’s a good chance that there’s a Japanese grocery store nearby.

These stores typically carry a wide variety of Japanese ingredients and food items, including yokan.

Another option is to order yokan online.

There are a number of online retailers that sell yokan, and many of them offer free shipping. This is a great option if you’re looking for a specific flavor or type of yokan, as you’ll have a much wider selection to choose from.

Finally – You can also find yokan in some specialty food stores. If you have a local Asian market or gourmet food store, they may carry yokan. Call ahead to check, as not all stores will have it in stock.

What Does Yokan Taste Like?

So, Yokan typically has a sweet taste of azuki and a bitter taste of matcha. It also has a chewy texture.

The sweetness and bitterness are well-balanced in every bite.

Yokan is a popular dessert in Japan, and you can find it at many Japanese restaurants.

It is often served with tea, and it can be a great way to end a meal.

Yokan taste explained
What does Yokan taste like?

If you are looking for something new to try, then you should definitely give Yokan a try!

It is a delicious dessert that will leave you wanting more.

Is Yokan Healthy?

The answer depends on your definition of “healthy.” If you are looking for a low-calorie or fat-free treat, then yokan is not for you.

However, if you are looking for a dessert that is relatively low in sugar and high in protein, then yokan could be a good option.

Additionally, red bean paste is a good source of fiber and antioxidants.

Therefore, while yokan may not be “healthy” in the strictest sense of the word, it does have some nutritional benefits that make it a healthier choice than many other desserts.


Yokan is a Japanese sweet made with red bean paste, agar, and sugar.

It can be served hot or cold and has a texture that is sometimes compared to gelatin.

Yokan can be eaten as-is or used in desserts like mochi and warabi mochi.

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