608 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street
from $2.50 to $11 each
Wagashi, or Japanese pastry, is served in traditional tea ceremonies. They are usually made of Azuki, kidney or soy beans combined with mochi-rice or wheat. The most common types are the jelly and rice cakes which come in different fruit flavors and colors. Minamoto Kitchoan is not a restaurant, but stopping by the store on Christmas day, I couldn’t help but be tickled by the beautifully packaged pastries. You can pick and buy whatever you want or else one of the Japanese clerks will follow you around with a tray so they can handle the delicate goods themselves. The ones pre-packaged start at $2.50 each but there were some expensive kinds inside the glass cabinets. They’re all perishable of course, so they must be eaten within a two-week timeframe. Every $5 you spend will earn you a stamp on a card and you can get a small discount when you’ve spent at least $100. And at Minamoto Kitchoan, it’s easy to do just that. Pretty store, pretty little things.