Local Eats : mochi and tea, Osaka, Japan

Traditional Japanese pastry is bound to make a French mind wonder. This is supposed to be sweet enterprise albeit without sugar or flour. Impossible wasn’t Japanese it seemed…

Here comes the mochi. Maybe that’s the most well-known of the wagashi (Japanese pastries), and it plays on a whole different level of seduction than the pastries I grew up with. Forget about crunchy or flaky, on this island it’s all about spongy and sticky. Granted, it’s an acquired taste, but let’s have a second look (and a bite) at our sweet mochi. It’s basically a ball of rice paste, but an incredibly soft one, and its hidden heart may be of azuki (a sweet red bean, remember: no sugar) or of something more decadent, like the raspberry one I had.

One word of advice, don’t skip the tea with it (or with any Japanese sweet), since it’s the bitterness of the green tea that will make the pastry seem sweeter than it is and create a delicate combination of flavours.

Of course, it helps if you have a very special place to enjoy this particular duo. It’s Angelo, our guide in Osaka, who brought us to Wad, a tiny tea room in the nice Shinmachi neighborhood. This is just the kind of place that makes me wanna go to Japan over and over again…It’s both arty and traditional, it houses ceramics shows and workshops, the mood is very intimate and personal and the service is nice and casual. It has a short but great menu with excellent teas and mochis along with more surprising offerings like matcha cappuccino or that tea where you eat the leaves once it’s done.

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I do crave mochis now from time to time…but let’s be honest, most of them are far from as good as the ones from Wad!
Wad, 〒550-0013 大阪府大阪市 西区新町1-9-14 2F
Angelo guided us through the city on one of his Osaka Safaris. He speaks English, French and Japanese and will make you feel like the city’s best kept secrets are within reach.

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