B1 Intermediate US 432 Folder Collection
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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!
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LA’s Most Legendary Mochi Is Made In This 117-Year-Old Shop | Legendary Eats

432 Folder Collection
Minjane published on July 29, 2020    Minjane translated    adam reviewed
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