Yesterday someone gave me a gift. It was ichigo daifuku (いちご大福、いちごだいふく） from well-known confectionary shop Suikodo （翠江堂 すいこうどう）. I was delighted, because it is my favorite sweet that can be enjoyed only in strawberry season.
Ichigo (苺、いちご）means strawberry, and dafuku (大福、 だいふく） is a Japanese traditional confection made with mochi (餅、もち）, or glutinous rice cake, and sweetened red bean paste called anko (あんこ） stuffed inside.
The surface is covered with white powder to prevent mochi from sticking to hands or other mochi. The powder is normally either rice flour, corn starch or potato starch, but not sugar. It is edible, of course, but you can shake if off if you don't like it.
Daifuku is a traditional sweet, but putting a strawberry inside is a rather new idea. The combination of anko and strawberry shocked people when it was "invented" in the 80s. When I heard of it for the first time, I could hardly believe my ears. I was even disgusted with the idea of eating anko and fruit at a time, but I was wrong. The refreshing flavor of strawberry goes very well with the sweet filling. I personally like it better than the conventional type.
Ichigo daifuku are available at any confectionary shops, but only in springtime. Don't miss it!
Here is today's useful Japanese expression: いちごだいふく を ひとつ（ふたつ・みっつ）ください。 Ichigo daifuku o hitotsu (futatu/ mitsu) kudasai.
Meaning is "Please give me one (two/ three) ichigo daifuku.