Mad for Mochi

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I found something comforting and quite filling about chewing on the little pillows. They were all tasty, but my favorite were the soft, gooey kinakomochi. The heat of the moist rice cakes turned their coating into sweetish sort of soy sauce, while the outside maintained a pleasing crunchy sort of texture thanks to the kinako-sugar mixture. I could see why this variety is a favorite among Japanese children. For dessert we had oshiruko, a sweet porridge of adzuki beans with mochi. All in all I realized that eating mochi is simple and fun. Just not as simple to eat as I’d initially thought.

By now you’ve guessed that there was no need to break out the Electrolux to dislodge a sticky mass from my gullet. Kidding aside, everything you’ve ever heard about children and the elderly choking on mochi is true. As of this writing 13 people in the Tokyo area were hospitalized and there were two fatalities this New Year.

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