If Japan Is Eating Fried Maple Leaves, Why Aren't We?

10/06/2014 02:42 pm ET | Updated Oct 06, 2014

We're all about snack time in the U.S., where chips, candy bars and trail mix normally reign supreme. But people in Japan are taking snacking to a whole new level -- by eating leaves.

To be fair -- these aren't just any leaves. According to Brian Ashcraft at Kotaku, the leaf snack is called "momiji" or "momiji tempura" and gets its name from the Japanese Maple tree with the same moniker. The maple/momiji leaves are usually found (and fried!) in Minoh City, Osaka, Japan.

"Momiji" can be eaten all year long, and the practice has supposedly been around for almost a thousand years. The maple leaves themselves aren't supposed to taste like much, which makes sense because they're usually preserved in salt barrels for about a year, and then fried in a sweet batter.

Deep-fried leaves sound much more like state fair food instead of a Japanese snack, but there are some good recipes available (we like this Maple Leaf, Pumpkin and Fig Tempura twist) if you want to try and make momiji tempura at home.

We'd prefer to just look at the pics below and plan a trip to Japan to try them!

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