Many foreign tourists are visiting Japan now, since it’s Sakura season there. Apart from the beautiful cherry blossoms, there’s one special food that is identical with the season. It’s called sakura mochi.
We all know that sakura is loved by many, even by people outside Japan. More often than not, sakura can be used for other things. Although it’s undeniably beautiful and easy on the eyes, the whole sakura tree is quite useful.
While the wood can be used as lumber, sakura’s leaves and flowers are preserved in salt and eaten. Yes, sakura is surprisingly edible! Both leaves and flowers need to be blanched in boiling water before salting. Use only 25 percent of the weight of the leaves for the amount of salt.
The preserved leaves mainly used for sakura mochi wrappers. Sakura mochi is a traditional sweet in Japan which consist of rice cake filled with bean paste. The food is wrapped with sakura leaf, which makes it different than usual mochi. Mochi is also usually white, but sakura mochi is pink since it represents sakura.
Interestingly, sakura mochi is mostly available in early to mid spring. It is basically made to depict sakura. Thus, sakura season isn’t complete without sakura mochi!
Are you wondering what does sakura mochi taste? As mentioned before, the sakura leaf is salty. It’s perfectly combined with the bland mochi and sweet bean filling.
Some people eat all parts of the mochi. They like the combination of flavours, which are sweet, salty and a little bit sour at the same time. However, some other people don’t eat the leaf. So they only taste sakura mochi as sweets. It’s up to you about how to enjoy sakura mochi, but you should know that sakura leaves is edible.
There are two kinds of sakura mochi in Japan. First is called Domyoji-mochi which originated in Kansai. It’s made from rice cake powder. Another one is Chomeiji-mochi which originated in Tokyo. Chomeiji temple is, indeed, located in Tokyo. The difference from Kansai’s sakura mochi is the anko (sweet bean paste). The anko (sweet bean paste) is covered with something similar to a crepe.
Should you are in Tokyo, you can easily find both kinds of sakura mochi. Yet, you are most likely only find Domyoji-mochi when you are in Kansai.
If you are not visiting Japan anytime soon, you can go to authentic Japanese shops in Singapore. Some of them sell sakura mochi on this sakura season. Grab it fast, or you must wait until next year to try sakura mochi.
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