Snacks with Tea (cha no ko)


Snacks with Tea (cha no ko . お茶の子)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


"tea child", o-cha no ko お茶の子, おちゃのこ
..... cha no ko 茶の子

CLICK for more cha no ko photos This is a snack served with tea and can be a sweet or salty treat. Tea poured over porridge or cooked rice (o-chazuke お茶漬け)is also called like this in some areas of Japan.
This snack can be served at any time, often a light breakfast is called like this. Especially in rural areas, farmers take a light meal before leaving for the fields to do the first work of the day and then come back for the real breakfast.

cha no ko
is also another word for "chagashi 茶菓子", sweets served with tea.
ochanoko ocha no ko o-cha-no-ko
In some areas of Japan, offerings for the equinox rituals are called like this. They can be sweets, dumplings or vegetables.


"Ocha no ko saisai お茶の子彩菜"
That's piece of cake

by Yoichiro Nakamura

If you heard the expression of "ocha no ko saisai" you may picture someone's face of full confidence. This expression has same meaning of "that's piece of cake" in English, and origined from the beat phrase of the songs "non no ko saisai". However what is the mean of Ocha no ko (child of tea)? The word of "ocha no ko" started to be used from long time ago in Japan. There was a famous court noble called Tokitsugu Yamashina during Sengoku period, and he often mentioned in his diary that when he stayed at the house of Yoshimoto Imamoto in Sumpu (old name of Shizuoka city), he often had drink with his close monk and had Ocha no ko as horsd'oeuvre.

During the Edo period there were venders on the street to sell "cha no ko mochi" for the light breakfast. This was how the word of Ocha no ko used to be used, however, the actual meaning of Ocha no ko is being told as "like a child who follows the tea".

The expression of tea does not only signify a tea for drinking but also tea for eating as tea porridge. Cha no ko not necessary means for the snack for the tea, it also means light meaks, In fact, on the  mountain area of upper Tenryu river, the light meals to eat for the breakfast is called "Cha no ko", but it does not come with tea.

By the way, there is the food called "Mago cha" which is eaten by fisherman in Izu. To make Mago cha, put fresh raw bonito on the top of the rice, and pour the hot tea from on the top. Some people say since this food is exceptionally delicious, if you are too slow in motion (mago mago suru in Japanese), someone else come and eat them up, and that's meal is called "Mago cha". However, Kunio Yanagita believes Mago cha (grandchild tea) means a grand son of tea.

© World Green Tea Association

Click for more Magocha photos
magocha まごちゃ


Worldwide use

Trinidad and Tobago

In T&T, at a tea party, which is usually a fund raiser, or some charity benefit , among the indigenous snack to be served is the sweet bread; a pan bread, sweet instead of salt, the rising agent - used baking powder instead of yeast, its choc full of dried fruit, like raisins, currants, cherries and a must for most sweet bread makers is grated coconut.

Oddly enough a small plate, usually a paper plate with about three to four small snacks; a sandwich, a slice of sweetbread, a slice of cake and some other little delicacy , temed up together we call a 'TeaPlate'

April showers
the steam of hot tea rises--
a bite of sweetbread

Gillena Cox, April 2008
Trinidad and Tobago SAIJIKI

Things found on the way


Issa haiku about this snack

CLICK for more photos

yamadera ya cha no ko no an mo kiku no hana

mountain temple -
even the sweets served with tea
shaped like a chrysanthemum

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. Gabi Greve

Wagashi, sweets from Japan

irori kara cha no ko hori-dasu yozamu kana

digging a tea cake
out of the hearth...
a cold night

korobi ne ya io wa cha no ko no jû san yo

restless sleep--
teacakes in the hut
for Ninth Month moon

Tr. David Lanoue


CLICK for more photos of IRORI, the hearth

itsutsu mutsu cha no ko ni narabu irori kana
(Basho, winter 1688-89)

five or six of us
lined up before the tea cakes:
the sunken hearth

Tr. Barnhill

I wonder what Shiki thought of this haiku. It takes a LOT of work on the part of the modern, foreign reader to make it interesting. Whose hearth? Who made and is serving the tea cakes? Is this the end of a poetry-writing meeting? How scruffy would five or six haiku poets of that era look, lined up or sitting together?

Barnhill's comment:

In the winter cold, warmth is found sitting around a table above a sunken fire.
Compiled by Larry Bole
Translating Haiku Forum

Year Genroku 1, Basho wrote
Haiku Collection: Cha no Sooshi, 茶の草子

MORE - drinking rea with
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Related words

***** Wagashi, sweets from Japan

***** Tea Ceremony Saijiki 茶道の歳時記 


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