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mūchī no hi

January 7, 2006

Leaf-wrapped Mochi

Today was mūchī-no-hi — a day when it’s traditional to eat mūchī (‘moochee’) — Okinawan sweets made from rice paste, and wrapped in a fragrant palm leaf, whose scent and flavour they absorb. So here’s a picture of one.

Mūchī are delicious, but the stickier ones are probably the messiest food on the planet to eat. The edible bit, inside the leaf, is a thick, sticky paste, and while sometimes (on really well-made ones) the leaf peels away cleanly, as often as not it comes away in strips, and the paste gets on your fingers and round your mouth. People eating mūchī look endearingly monkey-like as they try to separate the sticky paste from the leaf with their teeth while retaining cleanliness and dignity.

Here is a thing I learnt today: in Japan, the tune Chopsticks (the thing that just about everyone can play on the piano) is not in fact called Chopsticks, but instead has a title that translates as Oops, I stood on the cat. So there’s a thing.

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