“Daifuku” is basically just mochi (rice balls) with something sweet inside. You can eat it any time of year, although around my house it’s especially popular during the Christmas and New Year holidays. There’s a reason for that: Loosely translated, “daifuku” means, “Great Luck,” something that people everywhere are surely craving at the start of the new year. Sound appealing? Trust me, it’s more than that–it’s, ah, to “dai” for! Uggh, I know. Forgive me. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the snack’s possible mouth-watering variations.xxHxx on Flickr
Daifuku (bean-paste variety)jetalone on Flickr
jetalone on Flickr
Your basic model o’ daifuku is made with anko beans, either left whole inside the mochi or crushed into a sweet paste. Anko is pretty much a staple of old-fashioned Japanese sweets, and you’ll see people think nothing of putting it into their ice-cream, mashing it into liquid for soup, etc. I know, that was totally weird for me at first, too. If the words “sweet bean paste” don’t exactly catch your fancy, don’t feel bad—it took me a long time to get used to them! But pretty soon it became one of my all-time favorite confections. If you just can’t get your tastebuds around it, there are plenty of other varieties to choose from.
Ichigo DaifukuPhoto by ninacoco on Flickr
Photo by klm on Flickr
Ichigo (strawberry) daifuku is especially popular with the ladies, but I must confess that I’m a convert. Not only does the strawberry in the center melt in your mouth, but the mochi itself seems fruitier—more strawberries, or just flavoring, maybe? Either way, they seem to…um…sell like hotcakes. Ouch, did I do it again? Somebody stop me! 😉
Macha DaifukuUsodeshita on Flickr
Macha (green tea) is now in everything from latte to pretzel snacks and has even become an ice-cream flavor. No bones about it, I don’t really get the huge macha craze that’s been sweeping through Japan ever since I got here. Sure, I like to drink green tea as much as the next guy, but do we have to put it into everything? Apparently so. Listen, don’t take my ringing endorsement to heart—try macha daifuku, you might even enjoy it. You’ll forgive me for saying that it’s not my cup of, well, you know. 😉
Daifuku Ice Creammaebmij on Flickr
Can’t stand macha ice-cream, but this is one ice-cream headache that I’m willing to put up with! Yukimidaifuku (“snowy daifuku?” I couldn’t tell you if this is the brand name or the official catch-all name) basically comes with either vanilla or chocolate ice-cream, and the extra-thin mochi surrounding it is best eaten cold. And they came with little wooden pics so you can eat them without getting your hands dirty. Every time I eat one of these little guys, I ask myself why it hasn’t caught on in America—and then I wonder if I’m in the wrong line of work. It’s that good, folks!
There’s sooooo Much More Where that Came From!
xxHxx on Flickr
That’s right, folks, I’ve just touched the surface of daifuku possibility. There are cream-filled ones, sugar-dusted ones, lemony ones, and even Oreo-style ones! But putting taste aside, daifuku isn’t just about mochi balls—it can be found in all shapes and sizes that vary not only depending on the people making them, but probably even by prefecture, etc. I recommend try one (or two, or three) as soon as possible—daifuku not only taste terrific, but you never know the great luck it might bring you.