Decadent Dumplings

Japan’s famous luxury sweet will satiate any sugar cravings

In the space of two years, Mochi Sweets (77 Hai Ba Trung, D1) has not just arrived in Vietnam but is fast taking over the sweet snack scene with 14 stores already open and more on the way. Mochi is a type of traditional sweet Japanese cake made from mochigome, short-grain japonica glutinous rice. It is pounded into a paste, mixed with water and molded into a sticky, chewy dumpling. Traditionally they are filled with red beans and served as a treat on Japanese New Year. However, in their latest incarnation, they’ve been adapted and upgraded to cater to a more diverse audience. The red beans have been replaced with fruit sorbets and ice cream and are served all day long – as a mid-morning snack, a post lunch treat, or as popcorn replacements at the movies.


The chain boasts an impressive range of flavors, from blueberry and classic green tea, to the rare sakura (cherry blossom). The latest additions are orange mousse, durian, and coconut and all are presented ice cold on a paper napkin. For the novice mochi taster, it’s an unusual texture – smooth, cold, chewy dough, surrounding a dollop of delicious ice cream. Undeniably sweet but strangely moreish, they are a pleasant surprise on the tongue. Beyond the more familiar flavors, the sakura was delicious – a delicate floral mouthful with hints of cinnamon. For the less adventurous, you can’t go wrong with mango, and the blueberry is also popular (priced between VND24,000 – VND28,000 per piece).


They are gaining a cult following among locals who have been ordering them by the dozen. I have seen them turn up at everything from baby showers to birthdays in the office. Perfectly formed, suitably sweet and now available on almost every street corner, could the Mochi cake be the one to finally bring an end to the cupcake era? Perhaps.


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