Peanut Butter in Japan
Ah, peanut butter. That amazing American condiment / food. One of few peanut related things not invented by George Washington Carver, it has given delectable sustenance to countless people. According to some fans, it’s even a staple in 75% of American homes. And it does indeed exist in Japan – it just might not look the same. Or spread the same. Or taste the same. Or even be called by the same name. But it’s here. And I’ll introduce you to its more common varieties.
I went to my local grocery store and picked up the common Japanese peanut butter-ish products. You can see them in the photo above. Clockwise around the plate from bottom left: ピーナッツホイップ (Peanuts Whip), ピーナッツソフト (Peanuts Soft), Skippy (American-style Peanut Butter*), ピーナッツクリーム (Peanuts Cream), and ピーナッツランチパック (Peanuts Lunch Pack). I’ve done a video review of these products available both on this page and on YouTube. (First video! Go me!) * – American-style IS available in Japanese brands, too! Have no fear!
You can see a closeup of the 4 spreads below. The color differences are interesting, and they actually do reflect the depth of taste in each product, in my opinion. If you’ve ever tried these peanutty wonders, feel free to comment below. Do you agree with my review? Vehemently disagree? Let me know!
Needless to say, the American-style Skippy is my favorite. (But don’t think I’m just a shill for Skippy. I’d take JIF, Peter Pan, or generic American-style PB. Just not Reese’s – the stuff is meant to be in candy, not sandwiches.) Yum! In a pinch, I’d go with the Peanut Soft. This might be because my first experience with Japanese peanut spreads was with Peanut Soft. My poor host mom watched me as I tried to gleefully consume a peanut butter sandwich after discovering that the peanut butter…wasn’t. Ha ha. Once I got used to it I just kept on going with it. It’s not that bad, really.
If you’re one of those folks who really likes to get into the spirit of foods you love, you might enjoy making your own peanut butter. And to that end, I’ve embedded another video here. That’s right, it’s a peanut butter bonus round!
This post is my entry for the February 2009 Japan Blog Matsuri. The theme is Foreign Food. Thanks for reading! Subscribe to my RSS feed if you liked it, and consider hitting one of the social buttons, too!