Deep-Fried Maple Leaves Are A Tradition In This Japanese Village

You can eat deep-fried maple leaves in this Japanese city.

These interesting eats take an entire year to make. They’re crispy and slightly sweet, yet the veins of the leaf taste a bit salty. Only yellow maple leaves are used and they can only be fried if they haven’t fallen off of the tree. After the perfect leaves are picked, they need to be soaked in salt water for almost a year. After that, they can be fried in batter with sugar and sesame.

You can’t eat these leaves straight out of the frying pan, as they have to be left overnight, to remove as much oil as possible. If not, the taste of the oil can be overpowering.

It’s called momiji tempura and the snack is a specialty of Minoh City in Japan. Some people say the recipe was invented 1,300 years ago when a traveler was so taken by the beauty of the maple trees, he decided to cook some of the leaves in oil and share then with travelers who were passing by. The snack became a popular souvenir to the area and the tradition continues today. Eating a leaf may sound a bit peculiar, but the momiji tempura snacks look like they might be delightful.