Oshiruko VS Zenzai :「おしるこ」と「ぜんざい」どうちがってる?

Continuing from the last post, I think maybe some of us know about the red-bean Japanese dessert. For me, before researching more into this dessert, I thought this red-bean sweet is composed of red beans and some white thing that I don’t know what it is, and yeah….that it tastes very sweet. 

In reality, there are 2 versions of this! One is called “Oshiruko” and you will see this in a can, sold in vending machines as well! The other is called “Zenzai”. Some Japanese might not be able to tell the exact difference (which is the whole point of the TV program introduced in the last post). 

Let’s see how they differ! 
First…Oshiruko is basically sweet red-bran soup. A word “shiru” means soup. The sweet is soup made from red-bean, containing mochi. For Kanto area, koshi-an (strained bean paste) AND tsubu-an (the red “beans”) are usually put in the soup, while in the Kansai area, only the koshi-an is included. In the past, this treat is usually eaten in cold weather as a dessert to keep your body warm.

What about Zenzai? In Kanto, sometimes the mochi is simply topped with sweetened red beans as a simple Zenzai dish. In contrary, the Kansai version of this treat is actually very similar to the Kanto version of Oshiruko, having red beans and some sweetened liquid on top the mochi. Unlike Oshiruko, zenzai has more substance, having mochi as the main star, and, for some, is usually eaten as food (食事)rather than dessert. 

From the picture below, “oshiruko” is on the left and “zenzai” is on the right. This is pretty good to know! 😉