Honestly, you had us at mochi.

Wherever our dear Mr. Sato travels, one of his must-try things is to visit a local supermarket. They’re places where you can experience what the locals truly do and eat, and sometimes what you find can be surprising.

▼ Here’s an example of one Mr. Sato went to: Valor in Hida City.

Mr. Sato found this to be true on a recent trip to Hida City in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture. The area is widely known for its wagyu-grade Hida Beef, but the specialties proudly displayed by supermarket Valor was tempura mochi.

Tempura…mochi? Mr. Sato thought.

He’d heard of the two foods separately, of course, but this was the first time he’d heard them used together. Yet there it was, a pack of 15 white and pink mochi balls for 950 yen (US$6.34), made especially for frying.

▼ This sign explains how to enjoy them.

Since they’re supposedly best when freshly fried, they’re sold unbattered. Luckily, Mr. Sato had some tempura flour on hand at his house.

▼ He was ready to fry them up as soon as he got home.

Mr. Sato thought they looked like your run-of-the-mill mochi, complete with a red bean paste filling, but perhaps they would prove to be different once fried up.

▼ They even came with a helpful leaflet.

The leaflet inside the mochi package explained that the color scheme is meant to be celebratory, and they are traditionally eaten at Japanese holidays like New Year’s and matsuri festivals. It also explained how to make them: coat them in tempura batter and fry until they turn golden brown. Easy enough.

▼ But first, Mr. Sato wanted to see what they tasted like uncooked.

The dough was rather dry compared to typical mochi, and the red bean paste inside wasn’t so sweet. Not the best treat on its own.

▼ Time to see if frying improves the flavor! Mr. Sato set to making his tempura batter.

▼ Then he coated each mochi dumpling in batter, as per the instructions.

▼ Mr. Sato didn’t have much frying oil on hand, but it got the job done.

He recommends using more oil if you want an aesthetically pleasing finish.

▼ He took his first two morsels out of the frying pan and let them cool.

▼ Ta da! This was probably one of the easiest SoraKitchen recipes Mr. Sato has made.

When he took a bite of his work…he almost couldn’t believe it was the same mochi. It was so good. The batter was freshly crisp, and the mochi dough absorbed the frying oil enough to make it soft and moist.

▼ That’s one happy Mr. Sato.

Even the red bean paste was sweeter than before, due to the heat. He completely understood why this had to be enjoyed fresh.

Five out of five stars for tempura mochi from Mr. Sato. By the way, you can also find tempura mochi in prefectures like Nagano, Fukushima, and Shimane. Next time you’re in a Japanese supermarket outside of the big cities, keep an eye out for it!

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