Wagashi: Kanto-Style vs Kansai-Style Kuzumochi
Several types of Wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) are made with kudzu (arrowroot) starch, and as I wrote in the past, the jelly noodle “Kuzukiri (葛きり)” is among them.
Kuzukiri Noodles with Kuromitsu Syrup
Kuzukiri is almost tasteless, so when the noodles are served as a dessert, before eating, we usually drizzle some “Kuromitsu (黒蜜)” brown sugar syrup and sometimes dust “Kinako (きな粉)” roasted soybean flour.
Kuzu Mochi (葛餅)
Similar to Kuzukiri, “Kuzu Mochi (葛餅)” is also a Wagashi confection made from kudzu starch and typically eaten with Kuromitsu and Kinako.
In addition to that variety, there is actually one more type of Kuzu Mochi which is made from fermented wheat starch.
Kansai-Style “Kuzumochi (葛餅)”
Specifically, one is made from kudzu flour, sugar, and water, almost the same ingredients as Kuzukiri noodles.
This type is commonly eaten in Western Japan including the Kansai region around Osaka and is written as “葛餅” using Chinese characters or Kanji.
The Kansai-style Kuzumochi has a square or rectangle shape and a translucent milky white color. It is jiggly like jelly but somewhat chewy.
We usually eat this type with Kuromitsu and Kinako, but some variants including “Yuzu Kuzumochi (柚子葛餅)”, the one flavored with juice from a citrus fruit called “Yuzu (柚子)”, are eaten as they are.
Incidentally, filled with sweet Azuki red bean paste, “Kuzu Manju (葛饅頭)” is actually also a kind of the Kansai-version Kuzumochi.
Kanto-Style “Kuzumochi (久寿餅)”
“葛餅” and “久寿餅” have the same reading in Japanese “Kuzu Mochi”, but these Kuzumochi are quite different from each other.
As I mentioned above, this “Kuzu Mochi (久寿餅)” is made from wheat starch fermented by lactic acid bacteria.
While the Kansai-style “Kuzumochi (葛餅)” is widely enjoyed around the country, this “Kuzumochi (久寿餅)” can only be seen in the limited area around Tokyo.
The Kanto-syle Kuzumochi is known as the only fermented Wagashi and has a distinctive taste. But as with the Kansai-style Kuzumochi, the whitish cake is usually topped with the Kuromitsu syrup and the Kinako flour.
By the way, the birthplace of the Kanto-style Kuzumochi is “Funabashiya (船橋屋)” which is an old-established confectionery shop founded in 1805 in Kameido, Tokyo.
Shop Information: Funabashiya (船橋屋)
Address: 3-2-14 Kameido, Koto-Ku (Ward), Tokyo (MAP)
Open throughout the week: 9:00 to 18:00