If you have a sweet tooth and love trying different cuisines on your travels, then your trip to Japan would not be complete without gobbling a few dozen Yukimi Daifuku ice-cream mochi. Lotte is a major snack brand in Japan and Korea, producing a whole range of things aside from the snacks it is most famous for. But for me, Lotte will always first and foremost be the producer of Yukimi Daifuku, the most delicious ice-cream product in Japan.
This sweet little bundle of deliciousness hit the shelves in 1980 when the bite-sized ball of ice-cream was coated with a thin layer of marshmallow. However, it was only a year later when Lotte replaced the marshmallow coating with one made of mochi (squishy rice cake) and they perfected a technique of making the mochi so that it would stay soft and squishy even after being frozen. Usually, you’re recommended to wait a couple of minutes after taking the mochi out of the freezer before eating so the outside can thaw out a little bit and reach its squishy perfection.
Basically, that’s it. A Yukimi Daifuku is a ball of ice-cream, parcelled up in a layer of powdery mochi. The name of the sweet refers to a winter activity in Japan called ‘Yukimi’, which means to watch the falling snow. There are traditional sweets that one eats while watching the snow fall, called tsukimi daifuku, and the name Yukimi Daifuki is referring to these sweets.
The most common type of Yukimi Daifuku you will see are the ones they sell in convenience stores. These little packets have two ice-cream balls and the package comes with a little plastic fork for you to spear them on. They are 47 ml each. You can also buy multi-packs at the supermarket that come with nine pieces in a box, but the pieces are slightly smaller at 30 ml each. Apparently there is a third kind (which I have never seen) which is a box of three pieces in three different flavours.
As for flavours, the standard vanilla flavour is probably the most popular. The vanilla ice cream is sweet and creamy and blends perfectly with the simple taste of the mochi. Other flavours you frequently see are chocolate, strawberry and Oreo chocolate chip.
They release special flavours on a seasonal basis and also limited edition flavours. One seasonal variety is the ‘cherry blossom’ taste which they sell at Hanami, the cherry blossom viewing season. These mochi have a liquid jam in the centre which gives a new texture to the treat. One recent flavour which I tried was the ‘cream cheese’ flavour yukimi daifuku which was much cheesier than I expected! Other special flavours that have been spotted in the past include caramel, green tea, tiramisu, strawberry and cream, azuki bean and crème caramel.
Japan has so many amazing ice-cream to satisfy your sweet tooth, and Yukimi Daifuku is one of the most popular types of ice-cream you can buy. Aside from the Lotte brand, mochi ice creams are also produced by other companies and there are even stalls and shops where you can buy them on the trot – so what are you waiting for? Find your favourite flavour of Yukimi Daifuku!