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  • This is rainbow dango, bite-sized orbs of colorful, tender mochi.

  • In a process similar to taffy, it's made every day by hand along with a selection of other wagashi, or Japanese treats.

  • Mm! I've never had mochi this good in my life.

  • Thank you, thank you.

  • There.

  • That's mochi.

  • Oh, this has been here forever, right?

  • And it's the best.

  • LA's Little Tokyo is the heart of the largest Japanese American population in North America.

  • One gift that Japanese immigrants brought over with them is this cute little snack, mochi.

  • Now, we're visiting the oldest Japanese business in the country, from the owner, who actually still makes mochi the way grandpa did it.

  • Let's go.

  • After all these years, Fugetsu-Do has earned many fans who adore their mochi's texture and taste.

  • - Hi! - Hi, Crystal.

  • Tell me a little bit about Fugetsu-Do and how long you've been around.

  • Well, Fugetsu-Do is the oldest store here in Little Tokyo.

  • We started in 1903.

  • I am the third generation.

  • Today, we're making sakuramochi.

  • It's our season, February and March we make sakuramochi for Girls' Day.

  • What do you use to make it?

  • - What are the ingredients? - Well, we use sweet rice and red bean, adzuki beans.

  • And we also are making a number of other items.

  • Some are more decorative traditional mochi.

  • Each one has a certain taste or certain texture.

  • So, if you'd like to see, we're busy working right now, so come on back.

  • In the Fugetsu-Do kitchen, Brian Kito is more than a baker.

  • He is a shokunin, or a master craftsman, a title earned after at least 10 years of training.

  • He's known for his traditional Japanese desserts, including yokan, a sweet bean jelly served over white-bean-filled mochi decorated and covered with gelatin.

  • There's also ogura, an inverted mochi with the beans on the outside, topped off with a flower, also sealed with gelatin to keep it soft and shiny.

  • First of all, I am just impressed by how much manual work there is.

  • Every single stage there is someone pouring, cutting, manipulating, mixing, stirring, moving something from one table to another.

  • I mean, it's all done by human hands and human labor.

  • Fugetsu-Do is known for their rainbow dango.

  • It starts with a base dough that's steamed and mixed with sugar.

  • The mochi is edible at this stage, but it's not rainbow dango yet.

  • Food coloring is folded in by hand and shaped into long pieces that wrap the white mochi.

  • Now it's ready to be rolled out, section by section.

  • Each tube is finally laid in a wooden mold.

  • But before that, getting them to be just right takes some effort.

  • It's a workout.

  • Okay, my arm is tired, my shoulder is tired.

  • I have truly never eaten mochi until today.

  • Like, real mochi.

  • Yeah, so good!

  • This is just, it's a joy to eat because the texture is just something that you don't find in nature.

  • You gotta make it.

  • I've been in the business for 44 years, full time.

  • Now, given that you've been doing this for a long time and it's a family business, have you had any tools or special equipment that's been passed down?

  • Yeah, we do. We have some molds that have been passed down even from my grandfather's days.

  • But because of the internment during World War II, a lot of the stuff from my grandfather doesn't exist anymore that they've lost.

  • After internment, Brian's mom and dad struggled to rebuild from nothing, but they soon got back to producing their legendary mochi, with a little bit of help.

  • Korey, my son, he's showing interest in taking it over.

  • And so we're preparing for him to be fourth generation.

  • He's been here for now a year and a half apprenticing while he's in college.

  • You have five. You have three more.

  • - Three more? - Three more.

  • It doesn't matter.

  • It doesn't matter?

  • -(Japanese) No, because everything is delicious. - (Japanese) Thank you!

  • Is he the young man that looks like you walking around?

  • He's the one that almost looks as good-looking as Dad.

  • No, I'm just kidding.

  • And it's so fragrant!

  • Oh, it smells so good, even not to eat it is a treat.

  • You just can't find this anywhere else.

  • And it's fresh, it's not like dry.

  • The mochi itself has a taste, which complements whatever is inside of it.

  • I'm in my third bite.

  • This texture is unbeatable.

  • Oh, it's the mochi place!

  • It is the mochi place, and it's really good!

  • Yay!

  • You have a little bit of mochi in your hair. Can I?

  • Yes, please.

  • - Don't eat it. - Just kidding!

This is rainbow dango, bite-sized orbs of colorful, tender mochi.

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B1 US mochi japanese texture rainbow gelatin legendary

LA’s Most Legendary Mochi Is Made In This 117-Year-Old Shop | Legendary Eats

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    Minjane posted on 2020/09/02
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