Though mochi is a japanese confectionery treat, it is widely popular in chinese cuisine as well. I’ve noticed some noticeable different between japanese style mochi and chinese style mochi.
Japanese mochi tends to be beautifully designed, using a bean paste jelly-like substance to create intricate shapes. It is similar to how we use fondant on cake. However, like fondant, the bean paste jelly used is very sweet, and I find that the mochi often gets lost in it.
Traditional chinese mochi does not use the bean paste jelly. Instead, it only uses the mochi flour and filling. There tends to be more emphasis on the chewy exterior flour and less filling. There are often very pretty Taiwanese mochi as well, but it’s usually a print embossed onto the mochi dough.
One of the things I used to always request from Taiwan was mochi. There was a store that I used to go to (the name now escapes me), which sold tons of mochi, many of them beautifully designed. However, a few years ago, my relatives told me the place wasn’t any good anymore. I also noticed that the traditional mochi, which once had been found everywhere, wasn’t as widely available.
On my last trip two years ago, my aunt took me to a place called Pau Chuan, located inside Sogo shopping center, which made several types of mochi. The one that is really special is their handmade mochi. Most mochi is made by machines now, so handmade is quite a lot of work. The mochi was so soft and yet so chewy at the same time. I loved it. It’s been a while since I’ve been back, so there may be better places now. But at the time, this was my favorite.
So with Baby Bro’s GF going back to Taiwan during her winter break (you can read about part 1 and 2 of her visit here), I requested she bring me back some mochi.
These mochi can be kept in the fridge or freezer — in fact they need to be or else they will go moldy. Luckily they still retain their chewy texture even after being in the fridge. These mochi don’t look as fancy as some of the other ones in Taiwan, but they taste so good. The one fancy one was this one with the flower embedded on top.
The mochi come in a few flavors: taro, green bean, red bean and peanut paste. My favorite is still the traditional red bean. The flower one was red bean as well, but with a fancier decoration.