Sugar or forms of sugar such as fructose (sugar from fruit) or sucrose (table sugar) is always present in deserts and Karinto is one of those kinds of sweets that gives a twist to your usual kind of snack. This is a popular classic snack that could be found all over Japan, particularly in souvenir shops, candy shops, restaurants, bars, and ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns founded during the Edo-era).
If you are familiar with how doughnuts and churros (Spanish pastry) are made, then you are one step closer to knowing more about Karinto, as Karinto is fried dough as well. What makes it crunchy is probably because of the size and shape of the dough before it is fried. The dough is made with flour, baking powder, melted brown sugar, and vegetable oil. The ingredients are then mixed together, kneaded, and chopped accordingly to 1 or 2 inches and coated with a brown sugar mixture. The origin of Karinto is unclear but there is a belief that it could have come from either China or Portugal and has become a valuable part of Japanese culture ever since.
Modern times have brought the development of different versions of Karinto that could give you a cultural experience that you could share with your loved ones back at home. Japanese are big on flavours as evident with the many flavours of KitKat available in the market. Variations of Karinto include sweet and savoury flavours such as sesame, apple pie, peanut, negi-miso (green onion and miso), matcha, and chili pepper to name a few. This delicious treat is best paired with green tea but could be paired with other types of drinks according to your liking.