Saturday, September 15, 2018

Japanese Snacks at Tanuki are My Favorite New Street Food in PTown

This Spicy Smoky Bluefish Onigiri is the perfect snack to take to the beach or street.
I didn't make my first visit to Tanuki, sort of a Japanese snack bar on Commercial Street, until mid-summer, but I've been a steady customer ever since.
I can't get enough of their Onigiri (say O•neeg•yeer•ee, or just ask for rice balls,) my favorite new food in PTown this summer.

Tanuki's version of the traditional Japanese rice ball is actually a very special rice, imported from Japan since it isn't readily available in the US, pressed into about a three-inch triangle to hold its shape, and stuffed with any number of savory fillings. The Spicy, Smoky Bluefish variety is pictured here, sprinkled with a bit of spice, a few black sesame seeds and sliced scallion, and it's my favorite new Commercial Street snack.

Taniko's rice balls are wrapped and ready to go, slipped into your pocket or beach bag.
Other Onigiri choices on any given day might be the Sansyo Pork, or Spicy Mackerel & Tobiko, the tasty, flying fish roe you may know if you/re a sushi fan.
A vegetarian variety is always available, too, like the Tare Tofu Onigiri, as long as it hasn't already sold out before you get there.

Selection will vary daily depending on which particular ingredients are the finest available that day. If beautiful Atlantic Salmon are swimming nearby, for example, you can bet that they'll become a featured Onigiri that afternoon. These great, triangular Rice Balls are made fresh throughout the day, so there are always several choices.
These excellent, savory snacks are best eaten at room temperature, so choose a couple of flavors from the cooler and take them with you. Let them warm up a bit, then splash on just a few drops of the ultra-premium soy sauce Tanuki provides, and munch down a delicious, healthy treat you may never have had before, all for about $4.

Healthy, vegan truffles are homemade by hand, and good for you.
Last Saturday, on a mad rush to be on time for the final performance of The Whining, I realized I needed to eat something before the show to tide me over, so I grabbed a rice ball from Tanuki, slipped it into my shirt pocket and headed across the street to the Art House.
By the time it was my turn in the box office line, my snack was the perfect temperature to maximize all of its great flavors, both bold and subtle.
I unwrapped it, dripped on a tiny bit of that special soy sauce, and gobbled up the snack I'd been craving all week. These Onigiri are  quick, nutritious, satisfying, very tasty, and inexpensive... You just can't beat a deal like that.
Tanuki makes treats for your sweet tooth as well, like their Bittersweet Red Bean Truffles, made with 70% dark chocolate and Matcha green tea, and chock-full of health and energy benefits for you. There are matcha cream puffs as well as goodies made with lemon and mascarpone, and others.They've been experimenting in the kitchen all summer, coming up with things like a "Japanese cheesecake" and other tasty innovations, each around $3.

I tried the Black Sesame flavor of Mochi Ice Cream.
Mochi Ice Cream (just $2.50 each) are small, unusual desserts made with premium ice cream in uncommon flavors. These are tasty discs of ice cream about two inches wide. Each one of these is encased in a thin, smooth coating of a confection that reminds me of the texture of a marshmallow.
You can eat them with your hands. or spear them on the end of a chopstick. They're the perfect size for when you just want a little ice cream, not a huge, expensive cone.

The full service coffee bar offers a wide variety of hot coffee drinks like espresso, caoouccino and lattes as well as hot tea specialties including Matcha and Genma Cha. Tanuki makes a variety of chilled coffee and tea beverages including a great cold brewed, iced coffee and a "Hangover Helper" that actually does seem to help. It's made with  your choice of iced Sencha or Oolong teas. There are Matcha smoothies, a Matcha Palmer (1/2 lemonade,) as well as bottled, cold drinks from Japan.

Blackboards out front list food and drink specialties, some evolving through the day.
Find Tanuki, named for a creature known in Japanese legend and mythology, at 227 Commercial Street. They're in the bright yellow building known for many years as The Little Store, in the days when it was bright red.

Tanuki made its first PTown appearance as a very popular pop-up restaurant during the annual holiday festival sponsored by The Canteen, right next door. That tremendous response in mid-winter led to launching Tanuki in a brand new space of its own this summer.
Try some of these excellent snacks, treats and beverages, bringing Commercial Street some unique new flavors and expanding the variety of international street foods found in PTown.

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