-･- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -･- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.
It was a few years ago that I came to know the dessert with unique name, Siberia (シベリア, the frozen northern land in Russia).
Yokan (羊羹, red bean jelly) is sandwiched between kasutera (カステラ, Japanese sponge-type cake).
Recently, I found Siberia (made by a major bread company) for the first time at a bakery. The sponge cake and jelly were soft and tasty. I liked it.
There are several theories about where the name was derived from. For example, yokan looked like the frozen ground or Siberian Railroad.
The theory related Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) seems widely accepted. According to one view, Siberia was invented by Nagafuji Bakery (永藤パン店, it closed down in 2001) in Ueno (上野) for Nogi Maresuke (乃木希典, the Japanese general) when he went to Siberia. Well, I heard the bakery was established in 1912….
Anyway, it appears to be true Siberia was on the menu at coffee houses in Tokyo in the 1920's and it was also popular among children.
Now, besides major companies, fewer traditional bakeries on a street corner make Siberia.
I’d prefer this simple dessert rather than trendy sweets made by a snob “pâtissier.”