Breakfast used to mean one of two things in Japan: either the traditional time-consuming but stomach-filling option of rice, side dishes and miso soup, or the quicker option of couple of slices of toast and jam wolfed down before dashing out the door. This summer, a product that is as quick to prepare as toast but as filling as rice has proven to be a big hit. Since the product went on sale in April, sales of Marushin’s Good Morning Breakfast Mochi have risen so much that they’re now up 180 percent up from the company’s typical annual mochi sales.
Mochi, a sticky cake made from pounded rice, is a traditionally a New Year’s treat, but the dish has now found a new lease of life as a breakfast food. The idea is that rice is easy to digest, and mochi is a great source of energy and easy to prepare: All you need to do is to zap it quickly in the microwave before tucking in. The Good Morning Breakfast Mochi is 20 percent thinner than normal mochi cakes so that it’ll take less time to cool down – like tofu, the dense foodstuff retains heat much longer than a slice of toast.
The mochi boom follows on from other breakfast fads that have recently swept the nation. Last year saw the nation embracing the curry breakfast (as recommended by baseball superstar Ichiro) and this year we reported on the trend of office workers who chose to slurp down bowls of ramen for brekkie. Rather than simply eating the cake plain, Marushin’s website encourages customers to experiment with quick and easy, if deeply weird, recipes such as mochi pizza or mochi with chilli topping.
According to Nikkei Trendy, the easy-to-prepare product was launched with young singletons in mind but become a a hit with kids, perhaps because the squishy and Play Doh-like consistency of the mochi. The company has decided to see if they can cash in further on the boom by launching a new mochi snack aimed at students studying hard into the night. Bearing in mind the fact that every year a number of people choke to death on New Year’s mochi cakes, we’re wondering whether parents will be as keen to allow their kids to chow down unsupervised on mochi at night.
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