When Japanese People Try To Eat American Sweets

If you’ve ever watched a Japanese person eat something that you’ve offered as a gift, or if you’ve ever watched a TV show that involves any kind of Japanese gourmet report, you already know the 99.999999% likely response will be a combination of うまい! or おいしい! meaning delicious. This is of course regardless of whether it is actually delicious. In Japanese TV land, non-delicious food doesn’t exist, and they like it that way.


Does that food report involve American sweets? What are American sweets? The same thing as any other sweets (cake, cupcakes, cookies, etc), except made in America.

Japanese culture has slowly come to love Western sweets over the recent years. However, American sweets are often considered too sweet. Are you an American and were considering bringing some sweets for your friends in Japan? Tread carefully . . .

A somewhat recent episode of the incredibly funny variety show モヤモヤさまぁ~ず provides the perfect warning. They go to America, try the cupcakes at a famous cupcake shop in New York City, and . . .

Amai 1

Amai 3


Better shove a cupcake in the cameraman’s face to make sure it isn’t just you guys.

Amai 5

And they coin the new perfect phrase which describes precisely what Japanese people experience when eating American sweets:

Amai 6

あまい地獄: Sweetness Hell

To all the non-American readers of JALUP: Do you get a similar reaction when you bring sweets as souvenirs from your country? What countries seem to have a sweetness level that aligns well with the Japanese tongue?

To the American readers of JALUP: Have you found any good sweets that Japanese people like?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


When Japanese People Try To Eat American Sweets — 11 Comments

  1. Very funny! I’m glad I brought flavored almonds instead of sweets for the people I know in Japan. I hope they like them.

  2. This is funny and I totally agree, American sweets seem to be too sweet for not just Japanese, but even Chinese and Korean as well. While some European countries will say it’s not sweet enough. However, I think ramune is waay too sweet! I don’t like it at all (-_-). And I love sweets.

    • Yeah I guess that would make sense about other Asian cultures and their sweetness levels. So then I wonder if European sweets for Japanese are even worse than American sweets?

  3. I prefer salty over sweet (hello Japanland and your infinitely delicious osenbei!) so I tend to agree that many American sweets are just too sweet! I can only eat half a donut and if I were to eat a cupcake I’d scrape off most of the icing. There’s just so much sweetness.

    On the other hand, when I was living in Japan I was craving sweet and actually asked a friend to bring me double-stuffed Oreos from the US as the Japanese Oreos tasted like cardboard to me. Strangely enough though, I don’t even eat Oreos! But that craving of sweet made me think they’d be perfect.

  4. Hehe funny stuff + I like the two comedians who are on the show!
    I would say American sweets align well with my Swedish-sweet-tooth-tastebuds and I find Japanese sweets a bit on the not-sweet-enough-side, BUT Romania takes the cake (*Snickers*(!)) with the sweetest desert EVER… It was truly 甘い地獄! Can’t remember the name though.

  5. while I do agree that plenty of sweets here are probably less sweet than the US versions I still see that there is so much sugar in a LOT of products the japanese eat, from the white bread to the various sauces and such they use. I do love japanese cooking and cook a lot myself I usually have to add a bunch of spices and some salt to “cover” the sometimes too sweet taste I find.
    Esp a lot of the お菓子 here I personally find is far too sweet most times :P but I do love me some 八つ橋 with cinnamon ;)

  6. An army buddy treated me to dinner at a German restaurant just outside Ft.Knox, Kentucky. This place’s food was authentic German, he said. For dessert we had Black Forest cake smothered in fluffy vanilla icing. However sweet the icing looked, it was barely sweet at all. When I remarked at how very little sweetness there was and if that was usual, my pal said German pastries are typically like that.

  7. Sugar was once a very precious sweet additives in Japan.

    Upto the almost end of the 70s’, many cafes in Japan had a strict rule to their customers. Small two lumps of sugar were wrapped by a piece of papper as one. And one cup of coffee allowed the use of that two cubes only.

    When Japanese face to the matter to sweeten the confectionery, we often tend to add not more of sugar but a small amount of salt, to give the sugar a clear characteristic.

    As a result, you will have a secondary benefit to restrain overeating sugar to the body without effort – once you were familiar with such sweets.

    The use of the traditional idea will be found, for example, in a casual hot sweet snack “TaiYaki”. Inside its fish like wheat skin, you will find red bean paste. If you carefully savor it, you can trace the tiny taste of salt in it.

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