Mar. 17, 2017 UPDATE
The Sticky Rice Cakes the Japanese People Can’t Get Enough Of!
Have many kinds of mochi at Kyoto’s teahouse!
Part1 featured on “Zoni”, soup with mochi rice cake, but the way to enjoy mochi is not only one. Normally mochi itself doesn’t have taste so seasoning is a point. As you can enjoy as a meal and sweet, no matter whether you have a sweet tooth. Let us introduce you some of standard ways to enjoy mochi from a number of dishes. Although all of them are simple to prepare, they are all delicious and popular. Kyoto has many teahouses serving mochi, you can have it at most of places. Especially at a long-running traditional café, mochi is made by hand with mochi-rice that is much stickier than normal rice, also with time and love. Why wouldn’t it delicious? Please refer to various kinds of mochi we recommend at the end of the article. You will find something fascinating!
Mochi we often enjoy!
Abekawa mochiIt is mochi covered with soybean flour and sugar. The name came from a teahouse near “Abekawa-river” in Shizuoka prefecture in Edo era. It has old history. Flavors are simply soybean flour and sugar.
Bite its soft rice cake, and that makes you happy. You can also enjoy adding brown sugar syrup. There is another Abekawa mochi served with sweet red bean paste. The same name but teahouses in Kyoto often have one with soybean flour.
Isobe mochi“Isobe mochi” has soy sauce flavor and covered with seaweed paper. Soy sauce and seaweed are savory, and they go amazingly well with plain mochi. It’s eaten at home too. Because of simplicity, it is easy to add your original flavor.
Some shops use Japanese pepper called “Sansho” or seaweed covers mochi differently. “Isobe mochi” is not one type and differs depending on homes and restaurants. Try a lot to find your “Isobe mochi”.
Zenzai＆ShirukoZoni is soup with mochi that makes you warm in cold winter, but we have more soup-with-mochi dishes! Zenzai is one. Its soup is stewed with red beans and sugar. The Ingredients are basically mochi, shiratama dumpling and chestnuts.
Zenzai also has a lot of kinds, sometimes watery or thick, millet cake or chestnut mochi instead of normal white mochi. Similar to Zenzai, there is also Shiruko. Shiruko’s soup is fully watery in contradiction to Zenzai still left some bean shapes.
Zenzai is eaten more in west Japan like Osaka and Kyoto. Luckily Kyoto has both. Deep reddish brown look might surprise you but it surprises you again when you have a bit! Taking a deep breath with sweet and warm bowl in winter is tiny happiness for Japanese people. It might be even tastier since Kyoto is freezing. Mochi goes well with red bean so try it once you are here in Kyoto. Most of places serve it only winter but a few are all year.
Have you found something that fascinates you? Above mochi is chosen as regular ones from a number of mochi dishes. Now we have some specific teahouses for you. As they are close to sightseeing spots, must visit to take a rest and feel Japanese taste.
Kasagiya“Kasagiya” is located on Ninen-zaka, near Kiyomizu-dera temple. Since it opened Taisho period, they have kept the same taste. Two pieces of well-toasted mochi are in sweet, warm Shiruko, which is recommendation. Zenzai or Isobe mochi are available all year long. Drop by after Kiyomizu-dera temple!
NakamurakenNeighbor of Katsurarikyu imperial villa, café “Nakamuraken” sell a variety of Japanese confectioneries. Among those, we recommend “Abekawa mochi” with a heap of soybean flour. And this is only for autumn and winter. Soft mochi mixes with sweet powder, it is irresistible! The teahouses also have Zenzai and Isobe mochi. Mochi-related menu starts around October.
Kagizen YoshifusaIt is in Gion district that has Hanamikoji Street. This confectionery shop has Kuzukiri as a hot product. From October, Zenzai is available! Its millet mochi has funny texture, differ from normal one. The soup still has bean shapes and not too sugary. It comes with Japanese pepper flavored seaweed called “konbu”. It is something you have when you feel bored with same flavor.
Kamo Mitarashi ChayaA long running Japanese confectionery shop, nearby Simogamo shrine, one of world heritage sites, has run more than 80 years. Mitarashi-dumpling is their must-eat food. Of course mochi-related products are yummy too. Isomaki mochi served with a touch of Japanese pepper, and Zenzai are available all year.