So what’s your favourite type of Japanese food? Okonomiyaki? Ramen? Tempura? Fugu? Well, for me, one of the very best would have to be mochi, the tiny glutinous rice cake. It’s on sale everywhere in the world these days, but of course the best and most authentic mochi can be found on Japanese soil.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a kind of glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into a paste and molded into the desired shape. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. For tourists, I guess mochi remains one of the quintessential Japanese foods that MUST be tried during your visit to the country.
Many types of traditional wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are made with mochi. For example, daifuku is a soft round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as sweetened red bean paste or white bean paste. Ichigo daifuku is a version containing a whole strawberry inside. I haven’t tried that particular kind but just learning about it makes me want to go back to Japan NOW! Regardless of the kind of mochi you want, it can be eaten at any time of the day, and maybe this is what makes is so popular.
Speaking of mochi being used at any of the day, well there is such a thing as mochi ice cream, which is eaten for dessert. It is a small, round dessert ball consisting of a soft, pounded sticky rice cake (mochi) on the outside a tasty ice cream filling on the inside. It has a dusting of corn starch that keeps it from sticking while being formed. Popular flavours are green tea (matcha), vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and red adzuki bean. Although I think Indian Kulfi is the best form of ice cream in the world, I still can’t get enough of this mochi ice cream. Absolutely stunning!