Mochi is quite popular in Japan. They have a fondness for it and it is the traditional food for the New Year’s celebration. One reason Japan produces some of the best-tasting mochis.
There are lots of interesting things about Japan that draw in tourists each year. Be it Onsen towns, Japanese festivals, games, or Japanese food like Japanese Mochi. All are part of what makes the country a good tourist attraction.
So if you are traveling to Japan, here is a list of the best Japanese Mochi to try.
About Japanese Mochi
Japanese Mochi is a rice cake made of a short-grain japonica glutinous rice called mochigome. It is a traditional Japanese delicacy enjoyed for its sticky, chewy texture. Mochi is made traditionally by pounding the rice into paste form and molding it to desired shapes.
How is mochi made?
First, the glutinous rice used for this process is soaked overnight, then it is cooked until it is soft enough to be pounded. After this, the rice is then put into the mortar and pounded with a large wooden mallet.
Know that the mallet, as well as the rice cake, is to be dabbed with water so the rice retains its moisture.
After this is done, the rice is then molded into shapes and designs for eating. This mochi-making process involves hard work and could take hours. The process of making this Japanese delicacy is called Mochizuki.
The taste of mochi isn’t all sweet. It has plain rice or a starchy taste. However, when flavors are added, it becomes very delicious, giving you different options to pick from. Remarkably, mochi is served in different awesome varieties. People get creative with it.
Are you a mochi lover like me? You can try out the following Mochi and trust me when I say they are the best.
1. Kaneko mochi
If you are a mochi beginner, then this Japanese kaneko mochi is probably what you should begin with. This delicacy made of rice cake is then sprinkled with Kaneko and sugar. This mochi is also known as Abekawa mochi.
Kaneko is a roasted soybean flour and is popularly used in Japanese cuisines like soy milk and mochi. It is used after the rice cake is being pounded. The best way to enjoy this traditional Japanese delicacy is fresh and warm.
Most mochi outlets in Japan make mochis fresh. So you can enjoy this sweet dish anytime.
2. Daifuku mochi.
Looking for a mochi that can be made in different creative ways or have different options? Daifuku is your best bet. Daifuku is mochi made with sweet red bean paste. It is usually round, big and soft.
This type of mochi has other varieties like the very delicious one with strawberry filling. It does not only look alluring, but it also tastes as good as it looks. There are different daifuku mochis you can try.
Like the Mame Daifuku which is quite a popular classic and the Ichigo daifuku which is one of the bestselling mochis in Japan.
3. Sakura mochi.
As one of the best Japanese mochi, Sakura mochi is a sweet pink-colored rice cake filled with red bean paste and draped in a salty cherry leaf. It is usually eaten during the spring season, and on Girl’s day in Japan. Sakura mochi is made in different styles throughout Japan.
These styles are quite common and regular. The Kansai-style and the Kanto-style are two common ways to prepare the sakura mochi. These styles differ between regions. See more of this here.
Sakura in Japanese means cherry blossoms and the flower used in preparing this delicacy is often used as an ingredient for other Japanese cuisines.
4. Kusa Mochi
Kusa Mochi also known as Yomogi mochi is one of the best mochis in Japan. It is mixed with yomogi leaves, giving the mochi a green appearance. This is because the mugwort or yomogi leaves blended in the rice cake make it green.
Yomogi mochi gives you a tea-like flavor, coupled with the red bean paste used to fill it. What’s more, the ingredients contained in this dish are medicinal. Which means it is good for your health.
When the yomogi mochi is prepared, it can be designed in different shapes, depending on the mochi experts. You can try this mouthwatering mochi. When you do, you would be glad.
5. Mochi Ice Cream.
As the name implies, Mochi ice cream is a version of mochi that blends several ice cream flavors into the rice cake. If you are a fan of ice cream, you should try out this mochi. It is simply delicious. It is a small rounded sweet cake that comes in different colors.
As every other mochi is made, the rice cake is first pounded before being filled with ice cream in it, to give it a unique taste. It is then dusted with cornstarch or potato starch. This is done to prevent it from sticking to your hands as you enjoy your delicacy.
Ice cream flavors traditionally used to make this include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. This Japanese confection was first created in the city of Tokyo, by a Japanese American businesswoman, Frances Hashimoto.
6. Kiri mochi.
Kiri mochi is quite a popular mochi in Japan. It is also a recommendable start for mochi beginners. It comes in slabs and looks like soapy bars. You should know that it can be refined and used to make lots of sweet dishes as well as different assorted Japanese dishes. This mochi confectionery is made with mochiko and is quite easy to use.
This is a traditional Japanese rice dumpling bayoneted on a stick, dusted in soy sauce with toppings before it is served. It is popular around Japan and sold all year round. Dango mochi comes in five rice dumplings on a stick, usually in varying flavors and contrasting textures.
One reason why it tastes so good. It is not sugary, but sweet in a mild way. When you take a bite, the taste is savory and satisfying at the same time. It is simply amazing! You can try this with a cup of coffee or a sake drink. They go quite well together.
8. Oshiruko mochi.
There is nothing more soothing than a sweet warm Azuki soup, with some half-melted mochi to shake off the cold in winter. Oshiruko mochi is quite different from other Japanese mochis.
It is a soup made with mochi in it. How this is made is that the azuki beans are first boiled, adding sugar until the sweet taste is realized, as it turns into a watery paste soup. Then a toasted mochi is added to blend the sweetness of the azuki paste.
It gives you a delicious mochi mixed with sweet beans taste. You should try this when you visit Japan.
9. Kagami mochi
This is another Japanese cuisine that is highly recommended. It has with it a very captivating appearance and is often called the mirror rice cake. It is quite an entirely different mochi design and would most definitely make your mouth water.
Kagami mochi is traditionally used for New Year’s decoration. By that I mean, it is rampant and mostly seen during the New Year. It comprises two round mochi. The smaller one is placed on top of the much bigger one. A Japanese bitter orange (daidai) and a leaf are attached to make a complete Kagami meal.
This mochi also has Japanese symbolism attached to it. When two rice cakes are placed together, it symbolizes going and coming years, sun, moon, and the human heart. While the daidai attached to it symbolizes the continuation of a family from generation to generation.
Ozoni mochi is mostly eaten on New Year’s Eve in Japan. Its variety is distinguished by the different regions in Japan. Those who live close to the sea usually fill theirs with fish and salmon roe while those who live close to the land, fill theirs with vegetables and chicken.
Like the Oshiruko mochi, the Ozoni confectionery is soaked in a soup made from either fish, chicken, or vegetable. This Ozoni means more than a dish for the Japanese people. Every ingredient used in making it has significance.
For instance, the rice cake which is sticky and stretchy symbolizes longevity. Another popular belief tied to this dish is that finishing your ozoni mochi will bring you good luck and long life.
Where to get the best Mochi in Japan
There are several outlets in Japan where you can find your favorite mochi. One of these kinds is the Nakatanidou Nara mochi outlet. They make some of the best mochis you can ever taste. Other Mochi outlets include; Takemura, Tokyo, Oosumi Tamaya, and Demachi Futaba, Kyoto. Try those sweet mochi confectioneries and have a memorable experience.
Mochi is not just a Japanese sweet delicacy, it is part of their cultural heritage and has symbolic meaning attached to how it is eaten. It is most commonly found at that time of the year when there’s a celebration like New year or Girl’s day.
Now that you have found the best Japanese mochi, be sure to try them once you visit Japan. The above-listed mochis have been tested and tried.