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Autumn is here officially in Japan and each day, the temperature goes down especially in the morning with the cool crisp air and clear Autumn skies. And while waiting for the leaves to turn into shades of orange and red, homes and shops slowly changed their menu. Excited for this beautiful season, not only about cooler temperatures but the food is absolutely delicious and a must-try. There’s a lot of autumn fruits that are growing like apples and Asian pears (nashi). Around this season, not just seasonal fruits are consumed but sweet potatoes also are being harvested and cooked, making it a delicious autumn snack.


Roasted sweet potatoes,yakiimo.

Japanese sweet potatoes smell good when grilled and it is known to be a nutritious source of Vitamin C. This food is highly recommended because of its health benefits and is gluten-free. It can be prepared in several ways like roasting the sweet potatoes on slow fire. This is called yakiimo and it can be found in stores and supermarkets nationwide. It can be deep-fried and known as satsumaimo tempura. Or can be boiled and mashed and added to cakes and pastries available in pastry shops and convenience stores. But the most popular dish is the daigaku imo or candied sweet potato with its sweet and crunchy coating.


Daigaku imo is literally known in English as University potatoes. The name was derived when the sweet potato dish was sold near Tokyo University during the early Taisho era. It became a big hit with the university students thus the name Daigaku imo was created.


Japanese sweet potatoes, satsumaimo.

2 Japanese sweet potatoes

Vegetable oil for frying (about 3cm)

4 tbsp sugar

2 tbsps honey

1 cup water

1 tsp soy sauce

Black sesame seeds to sprinkle


Daigaku imo, candied sweet potato snack.

  1. Wash the sweet potatoes, trim off both ends and cut into chunks–enough for a bite-size. No need to peel the skin. Soak in the water for 10 minutes to prevent it from discoloring.
  2. Pour about 3cm deep of vegetable oil into a deep frying pan. Heat to about 160C. Deep-fry the potatoes until golden brown. Then remove from the oil and place it into a paper towel-lined tray to remove excess oil.
  3. In a separate shallow and non-stick pan, put the sugar, honey, and water mixture and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potato chunks and stir fry. When it is coated, add the soy sauce.
  4. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving dish and sprinkle it with black sesame seeds according to the amount of your choice. It is ready to serve.

This snack is easy to prepare and healthy, making it an ideal afternoon snack for kids and students after school. Daigaku imo is best paired with green tea.

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