Mochi sweets, Tokyo
Mochi sweets, those glutenous rice balls, are traditionally filled with sesame paste, cream or red bean paste. But the wagashi parlour and cafe, Higashiya, has overhauled the culinary tradition, filling the doughy balls with the likes of peach, edamame paste and blueberry. Rolled balls of gelatinous rice are gem-like sculptured pieces, pretty morsels of silk and goo.
There's pumpkin and cheese, mashed chestnuts and brandy jelly, ginger, orange and chocolate, sweet potato and black sesame butter, macadamia and sweet potato, rum and fermented butter, cashews in mashed sweet potato.
The powder-coated or polished bites are served with the spirit Shochu instead of the traditional thick green tea. Though eating any any of the stores still feels like some ancient Japanese tea ceremony.