“Yakiimo” 「焼き芋（やきいも）」 : Japanese roasted sweet potato
“Yakiimo” is a roasted sweet potato, a very popular snack in Japan, especially during the cold days in late autumn to winter season.
It is a well known Japanese winter scene to see a street vendor pulling a cart or driving a small truck, which carries a special wood stove cooking “Yakiimo”, and selling around in the parks or in residential areas. Vendors will make a special whistle-like sound and call out “Ishi-Yakiimo” in a special tone to tell that they are close by, and customers are able to buy freshly cooked “Yakiimo” just ready to be tasted.
These “Yakiimo” are called “Ishi-Yakiimo”, which means sweet potatoes are roasted on hot pebbles. Sweet potatoes are buried in the pile of small pebbles, which are heated by wood stove. Sweet potatoes are indirectly heated through hot pebbles and very gradually roasted taking time. This makes the “Yakiimo” very sweet and tasty. “Yakiimo” sold by these vendors are usually handed over to the client wrapped in news paper as seen in the picture.
Today, the number of these street vendors have decreased, and “Yakiimo” is more often enjoyed after purchasing them in super markets or convenience stores. Still, you could enjoy “Ishi-Yakiimo” from street vendors in some parks or at festivals.
Please try it if you have a chance!
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