We love mochi in Hawaii! Hawaii's local style mochi is fun, casual, and loved by all. From chichi dango to fresh strawbery mochi and even peanut butter mochi, mochi in Hawaii is amazing and onolicious. Here are the best spots.
Mochi was originally introduced to Hawaii by the Japanese. But the kind of "local style" mochi we enjoy nowadays in Hawaii is very different from traditional Japanese mochi.
Like many dishes and food items that were introduced to Hawaii, mochi was embraced, adopted, and then "Hawaii-ized" over the years. The result? A specific style of mochi found only in Hawaii.
Mochi in Hawaii is less formal. It's fun, casual and meant to be shared with family and friends. We love mochi with a passion but we are never too serious about it. Mochi here is happy food. You might also notice that Hawaii mochi is softer and slightly more "loose" in texture.
From chichi dango (my favorite!) to fresh fruit mochi (like strawberry and lychee) to mochi stuffed with peanut butter, mochi is a must-eat dessert when you are in Hawaii!
Here are our favorite spots:
Nisshodo Candy Store / Mochiya (Oahu)
Out of all the mochi shops in Hawaii, Nisshodo is the one I visit the most. We've been going here since we were little kids ^_^
We go to get fresh mochi for ourselves to eat (it is the ideal afternoon snack), to bring as omiyage when we travel, and also to gift to family and friends.
Nisshodo has been around for generations and they are most famous for chichi dango (pictured above). It is so delicious and you must try it. Chichi dango is an unfilled mochi. The mochi is cut into rectangular pieces and served plain or dusted in kinako (roasted soybean) powder.
All the other mochi at Nisshodo is sold by the piece but chichi dango is sold by the pound. Get a half pound each of the plain and the kinako chichi dango and you will be very pleased.
Nisshodo makes a whole bunch of other mochi and manju. I love the peanut butter mochi and the lilikoi (passion fruit) mochi, and of course the classics filled with tsubu-an (red azuki bean paste) and shiro-an (white lima bean paste). There's so much delicious history at Nisshodo and I hope to be coming here for many more years.
See all the details you need to know about Nisshodo Candy Store / Mochiya here.
Fujiya Hawaii (Oahu)
Fujiya is super neat. They used to be in another location in Kalihi but recently moved to a new space (with easy parking) in McCully.
Fujiya is popular for two main things: mochi and senbei.
I'll cover senbei (did you know fortune cookies were based off senbei?) in more detail on another post, but make sure to pick up a bag of senbei while you're here. They come in multiple flavors and I like the assortment set.
As for the mochi, get a box of the chichi dango! They come in plain and haupia flavor and you can get half-half boxes. We are crazy about chichi dango. I can't imagine life without chichi dango. Fujiya's chichi dango is different from Nisshodo's chichi dango. You need to eat Fujiya's slightly chilled/cool. Nisshodo's is eaten at room temperature. They are both excellent.
Fujiya also has great fresh fruit mochi sold in pairs. We usually get the fresh strawberry and fresh lychee mochi. They even have fresh banana with peanut butter (and a little bit of red azuki bean) mochi.
Also look out for the seasonal mochi flavors like that yuzu shiro-an mochi pictured above. It features yuzu mixed into shiro-an (white bean paste) and topped with yuzu zest. So bright, so good ^_^
See all the details you need to know about Fujiya Hawaii here.
Happy Hearts Mochi (Oahu)
Oh, Happy Hearts Mochi! This place is wonderful. They don't actually have a storefront.
In order to get Happy Hearts Mochi you must first go to their website, and pick a mochi set. Then email your order (at least two business days in advance). Await confirmation, schedule a pick-up time, and then pick up at *Natsunoya Tea House in Liliha. It is worth the extra effort.
You can order anything from a small 4-piece "mochi bento" set to giant platters (guarantee you'll be THE most loved guest if you bring this to a party).
Happy Hearts Mochi makes five different flavors of mochi. Try them all. There's fresh strawberry, peanut butter, haupia, chocolate-haupia (a very popular flavor combination in Hawaii), and hazelnut-coffee haupia.
As you can see haupia plays a key role in Happy Hearts Mochi. It's really neat! The haupia flavors feature a whole piece of fresh haupia wrapped in mochi. Eat it slightly chilled and it's wowowow.
*Natsunoya Tea House just celebrated their 100th anniversary, amazing!
See all the details you need to know about Happy Hearts Mochi here.
Izu's Mochi (Oahu)
Izu's Mochi has a stand at the Kaka'ako Farmers Market every Saturday morning. It's another great mochi Honolulu spot!
Visiting Kaka'ako Farmers Market is one of my favorite weekend activities (go early because it gets hot) and I always make sure to pick up a few pieces of mochi to share with my grandma.
Try the fresh strawberry mochi and the Okinawan sweet potato mochi - they are both wonderful! Izu's also has fun flavors like peanut butter mochi and chocolate cookie mochi. The mochi here is super pretty with a topping on each piece.
Sometimes Izu's has mini mochi cups available. It's a cup full of mini mochi pieces (no filling). Great for snacking.
Check Izu's Mochi Instagram for updates and special flavors. Back in January, she made Kasa Muchi, an Okinawan-style mochi wrapped in shell ginger leaves. It was beautiful and I hope she makes it again.
Two Ladies Kitchen (Big Island / Hawaii Island)
Two Ladies Kitchen is one of my favorite places to visit on the Big Island. It is super famous so might have already heard about it. It's located in Hilo and you must visit when you come to Hawaii! They are closed on Mondays and Sunday so plan accordingly.
If you have your heart set on fresh strawberry mochi (which you should), it is best to pre-order those the day before because they definitely run out. They also make different types of fresh fruit mochi including fresh grape mochi and fresh poha berry (gooseberry) mochi.
The Two Ladies mochi menu is big and colorful! If you've got a good appetite (or a friend to share with), the most fun thing to do is order one of everything.
From filled mochi to the fresh fruit mochi, no filling mochi (like chichi dango and kamato mochi) and a super good butter mochi, there is so much to try here. They even make manju. You'll be very happy getting one of everything, and it's a neat look at the variety of local mochi flavors.
See all the details you need to know about Two Ladies Kitchen here.
P.S. What About Butter Mochi?
Butter mochi belongs to its own category of mochi. It doesn't fall under "regular" mochi because it's like a cross between cake and mochi.
Two Ladies Kitchen is the only local mochi store I know that sells butter mochi along with all the regular mochi. To find butter mochi in Hawaii, check a bakery, local market, or your friend's house (because making butter mochi at home is a very common). Visit our Butter Mochi post to learn more about butter mochi, where to buy it, and how to make it ^_^
Sunday 27th of June 2021
Hi Kathy: I haven't had mochi, especially dessert mochi in a long time. In fact, my wife has never had that kind of dessert mochi at all. She has only eaten a little bit of plain mochi in ozoni that I made this past New Year's. I think she would love the dessert mochi. I gotta get some the next time I go home to HNL for vacation. While I never was a big fan of the the place, do you know if Sam Sato's (??) on Maui is still open and making mochi and manju? People use to go get their desserts all the time, although I was never of fan myself.
Sunday 27th of June 2021
Hi Alan! Hope you've been well! I think your wife would love dessert mochi :) Yes, Sam Sato's is definitely still open! I haven't seen mochi there but their manju is as popular as ever. Now you got me craving dry mein from Sam Sato's ^_^ - Kathy