Boba Tea

Recently, my friend welcomed a new baby into her family. Her baby is happy and healthy, with plump, puffy cheeks, and supple skin that bounces back with every touch.

This soft, elastic state is often referred to as “mochi mochi”. And it’s not just for babies, either – we use the same words to describe the stretchy, chewy texture of food. No wonder, sometimes you feel like gently pinching or biting a baby’s hands or feet because they are just so squishy! 

Japanese really love “mochi mochi” textured food. Compared to other regions of Southeast Asia, our short-grained rice is higher in water content, giving it a bouncy texture that is moist and sticky. Same goes for other popular staples in Japan, such as mochi (rice cakes) and even udon. 

When you see the words “mochi mochi”, you immediately associate the texture with a pleasurable feeling. Just imagine, a bite-sized, squishy treat that at first, resists a little when you chew, before giving way to a mini cloud of pure bliss. Which is why when you visit Japan, you will see a lot of food products (or even cosmetics) with labels proudly proclaiming a “mochi mochi” texture!

Do not miss out on some of my personal “mochi mochi” favourites: Pon de Ring from Mister Donut, Mo-Cheezu from Lawson, mitarashi dango and strawberry daifuku (usually available at most supermarkets). 

In Malaysia, you can get “mochi mochi” udon from Hanamaru – a chain from Japan. I particularly love the Kitsune Udon; it is chewy and sweet and savoury all at once!

Right now, the boba tea (more popularly known as “tapioca” in Japan) craze is also making waves all across Japan. I heard that at some shops, the queue can take up to 6 hours! 

I am not sure whether I would be patient enough to wait that long, but I can understand why boba tea is so popular – I am pretty sure it is related to the Japanese fondness of anything “mochi mochi”

Akiko Nishio is the principal of A to Z Language Centre, with over 20 years of experience in teaching Japanese. She has a soft spot for good books, travelling, and ice-cold beer. 


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