A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post that mentioned a purple potato salad I had found sold as a dessert item in a supermarket just outside of Tokyo. (See it here.) A little over a month ago, a reader posted a comment asking where he could buy the purple potatoes themselves in Japan.
Ever since then, I’ve had my eye peeled for murasaki imo, as the colorful spuds are called, every time I set foot in a grocery store’s produce section. But I had no luck.
Then, a wise person suggested that I try the basement food halls of the Mitsukoshi Department store in Ginza. Sure enough, there was a specialty produce corner on floor B3 where murasaki imo were avaiable. They were labeled as produce of Chiba Prefecture.
At 100 yen for 100 grams, these are probably the most expensive potatoes I have ever purchased. The two smallest ones, shown here, cost me a total of 403 yen (about U.S.$5.25 or four euros).
I have to report that the main pleasure this vegetable offered was visual. The flavor wasn’t too different from that of an ordinary sweet potato. (If anything, it was blander.) I had to load it up with butter, honey and a generous dusting of cinnamon to make it satisfactorily interesting.
Still, if you are having guests over, murasaki imo might make an interesting conversation piece, especially if you serve them in their skins so that the purple color isn’t revealed until your guests cut into them.