An ohagi is normally a rice ball made from もち米mochi-gome, or rice used for rice cakes, and covered usually with either anko (sweet red bean paste), kinako (soybean powder) or sesame seeds.
小多福Otafuku is an おはぎohagi shop in 東山Higashiyama that produces the usual ohagi as well as unique versions of it. Last weekend, Kimura-san and I went to check it out after a late morning at あじき路地Ajiki Roji and lunch at CAFE OPAL. We walked through a couple of streets, ones that I often walked up until about four years ago when I spent practically every weekend in the Higashiyama area, before arriving at the shop.
We entered into a very small room that was already pretty full with customers, some at the counter/table, some sitting on the bench behind it…not to mention the ones that came after us who either waited outside for the space in the shop to open up or come back when there were fewer customers.
One can also have tea with his ohagi in the shop as seen by the handwritten menu on the wall and the one female customer who was doing just that, or had finished doing it, and was observing the situation at hand. Who knows, maybe she was a friend waiting for the chaos to subside before continuing her chat with the owner, an elderly woman who seemed to be manning the shop alone.
Intentional cute wrapping? You’ll see that the colors foretell the color scheme to come.☺
I got theうめume (Japanese plum), ￥150, and 青梅ao-ume (unripe Japanese plum), ￥150, because they were the prettiest (especially together) and looked the most unique. If I had room for all the flavors available, I would have bought them all because the full picture when we were purchasing some was just stunning!
Besides the colors, they tasted similar with sweet and sour flavor to the rice surrounding the sweet red bean paste, the opposite of the usual ohagi. It was a wonderfully satisfying experience but I think I want to try the more normal ones next time. 🙂