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Mochi battle: Osaka-ya vs. Benkyodo vs. Shuei-do vs...

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Curious to hear other hounds who have sampled all three to weigh in on their favorite spot for mochi and other wagashi. I find that the flavors and selection are pretty similar across all (chunky/cream peanut butter, chofu, shiro-an, and the like), but I cannot kick my habit for Osaka-ya. While all three are excellent, I love the silky texture of the bean paste, the delicate flavor and softness of the mochi, and the spongy-to-solid ratio of the pancake on the chofu. I live in the East Bay, so location is not so much a drawback as all three are some kind of a trek for me. However, both Osaka-ya and Shuei-do serve shave ice/kakigori in the hot months, which is a big plus for meā€”that barely-there finely shaved ice cannot be beat. Anyone care to vote for a favorite, or suggest a new contender?

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  1. Are you talking about Osaka-ya in Sacramento? I looked it up on Yelp, haven't been.

    I did like Benkyodo's fresh strawberry but it does have artificial strawberry flavoring inside.
    If I was close to SF Japantown I'd go to Benkyodo, closed Sun.
    If I was in San Jose I'd go to Shuei-do.

    -----
    Shuei-Do Manju Shop
    217 Jackson St, San Jose, CA

    Benkyodo
    1747 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: hhc

      Yup, Osaka-ya is in Sacramento. Doesn't seem to be on CH.

      http://stores.homestead.com/Osakaya/S...

      Great that you go to the place close by.

    2. I haven't tried Osaka-ya's mochi. I'll have to be on the lookout.

      Between the other two, I prefer Shuei-do's. It seems to have a slightly firmer texture and is not as sweet as Benkyodo's mochi. Which is not to say that I would turn my nose up at Benkyodo - I was just there this Saturday!

      1. I just picked up some Osaka-ya at our local shop here for New Years. They picked it up fresh just hours before, but it is not soft and wasn't good at all - I did like that it wasn't too sweet. Did I just get a bad batch?

        On the other hand I love Benkyodo.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jsaimd

          That does sound odd - I haven't ever encountered that and I've gotten their mochi via Tokyo Fish in Berkeley a few times. Where was this - and what kind did you try?

          I have had Benkyodo mochi from Berkeley Bowl that I did not think was as good as from their own shop. But I could be biased...

          1. re: jsaimd

            (Sorry - this should have posted as a reply to gidge2009 below)

            Very true. My friend reminded me recently that Shuei-do is really a manju shop, not mochi (though they do carry). And their manju is really very good - I must get down there to try it again soon....

          2. I like them all, but I'd say Osaka-ya is the best.
            #2 Shuei-do
            #3 Benkyo-do

            Ah shucks, the battle between 2 and 3 is close. I consider them different! ;-)

            1. not sure how authentic this is, but eiji in san francisco sells amazing strawberry mochi. the interior is a ripe strawberry, coated with red bean paste, and then covered with homemade mochi. it is a really tasty combination. they also have chestnut mochi right now, but i haven't tried it.