Kyoto, Japan’s Warabimochi

As is to be expected, dessert takes on a life of its own in Japan, from the French pastries of Kyoto, to the green tea – vanilla soft serve combination, to the cream puffs of Beard Papas, you won’t find a shortage of either sugar rush inducing freakouts or refined post-dinner delights (or pre-dinner delights, whichever). Take for example this delicate concoction, warabimochi, a popular Kansai dish, covered with chocolate powder, necessarily served alongside matcha green tea (another local specialty and an absolute necessity for any traveler) – both pictured here. Warabimochi, a variant of the well-known ‘mochi,’ a thick mashing of lightly sweetened rice forms, now available at your everyday Pink Berry, is more than just a delivery mechanism for frozen yogurt, red bean paste or mango ice cream. Without the white noise of such over-the-top flavors, warabimochi carries its own elegance, something suitable for the serenity of Kyoto’s maze of temples and shrines. That being said, the thickness and stickiness needs an appropriate counterpoint to wash it down, hence the matcha. Come to think of it, a flask of sake would have done just as well.

This combination was consumed at Ichoya, a small restaurant outside the main entrance of Nishi Hongan-Ji, in Kyoto. They have a website:

Written by Jason Summerfield