5 Fruit-Stuffed Mochi at Fujiya You Should Try
For more than 60 years, Fujiya Hawai‘i has been pounding out traditional Japanese and local favorites, as well as pushing the boundaries of the mochi frontier.
Photos: Taylor Ellis
Among the sun-baked brick walls of Kalihi’s industrial zone are a series of mom-and-pop stores that have provided uniquely Hawaiian treats for generations.
Along Waiakamilo Road, “open” signs are taped on top of “open” signs, reassuring mochi-seekers that Fujiya Ltd., “Fine Oriental Confectioners Since 1953(8),” is open for business.
The shallow storefront is ringed with wooden shelves of senbei, arare, and Uacoco, Fujiya’s fruit-flavored coconut crackers. The display case in the center, as humble as the shop it sits in, contains the daifuku and chi chi dango we all know and love. The real gems of the house, though? Without a doubt, it’s the confectionary’s popular assortment of specialty fruit-filled mochi.
Other shops stuff whole fruit into their mochi. At Fujiya, the staff goes a few steps further. They’ve been experimenting with their twist on the classic confection for three years and in that time, outside-the-box flavors like kiwi and blueberry have come and gone, with popularity—and seasonality—determining what iterations stay or go. While some flavors can be found at other places, most are Fujiya exclusives. Here are some of the top sellers and our favorites.
A whole strawberry sits in a base of red or shiro (white) bean paste. The pure tactile enjoyment of biting through the sticky layer of mochi into the firm flesh of the fresh strawberry is probably why ichigo daifuku is the most popular fruit mochi of all time.
This is Fujiya’s second most popular mochi and encapsulates a pitted lychee in white bean paste. The result? A match-made-in-heaven of luscious, floral, delicate lychee juice that’s divine alongside the subtle paste. The lychee juice diffuses through the supple rice and bean textures, making each bite taste like a cloud of lychee puree.
The tart and sweet juice explosion from these sunny-colored treats makes it a pineapple experience that ain’t just for tourists. The pineapple (adorably labeled “Pine Berry”) is probably canned, but that doesn’t hold this mochi back from being the third-most popular choice.
This one is our favorite. Biting through the sticky surface into the tart mantle of raspberry puree, the competing textures of raspberry drupelets and pillowy daifuku perfection are a real delight. An involuntary “mmm” escaped every time we took a bite.
Banana Peanut Butter
Fun and youthful is how we would describe this concoction. Sticky mochi and sticky peanut butter is already a popular combination for mochi makers. Adding banana had us thinking of childhood favorites and breaking out in grins with every bite. Bonus: The kinako (roasted soy powder) adds a dash of exotic.
Pro tips or tips from a serial mochi eater:
Get ‘em while you can—or order in advance. The fruit mochi sells out as soon as it hits the shelf. But don’t stress about it, Fujiya is more than happy to take your order in advance so you get exactly what you want at pick-up time. The staff recommends ordering a day in advance for traditional items and two days ahead to guarantee that you get the fruit mochi you deserve.
Buy a variety and eat them without looking. The contrasts between the different options will catch you and your taste buds by surprise every time.
Fujiya Honpo, 454 Waiakamilo Road. Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (808) 845-2921, fujiyahawaii.com.