Chinese mochi, aka sticky rice dumpling or 糯米糍, tastes the best when eaten on the day it is made, according to Master Tse, who has over 40 years of mochi making experience in Tai O, a village island on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. This is also one of the secrets why his mochi is better than the others- the unbeatable freshness. He makes a batch of mochi every morning using fresh ingredients. He would only make extra according to demand. He emphasizes the importance of selling only mochi freshly made on the day. Generally speaking, if consumed the next day, the snow-white outer skin of the mochi, which contains mainly sticky rice, will harden and badly affects the eating experience. Master Tse’s mochi has a signature outer skin that is chewy but does not stick to your teeth. (Note: Most mochi tends to stick to the teeth, which makes it less enjoyable to eat)
What is inside a mochi? There are traditionally two different fillings: red bean paste as well as crushed peanuts and shredded coconut. Personally, I like the latter more as it has a more interesting texture in the mouth. On the day I visited Master Tse, he was making a bespoke batch which has both fillings! Here is how he did it:
My grandmother said she used to make her own mochi too though she has given up since as it was hard to handle the hot sticky rice dough. Master Tse made the whole process looked so easy!
All cooking is done using traditional stoves (photo below). The most common fuel for this kind of stove on this island is bamboo. The mochi had a full body and was still warm when it was finished. I like the pace of the island as well as the cheerful vibe and passion that went into the process of making. To me, this is what made this mochi the best I have ever eaten.
Master Tak Choi Tse Address: No. 106, Shek Chai Po St., Tai O, Lantau, Hong Kong
Tel: 2985 8740 (you can call and reserve your dumplings!)