Where to Find the Best Mochi in Oahu
Mochi in Hawaii is a little different than mochi in Japan. It’s softer and less chewy. It’s also not as formal. In Japan, ChiChi Dango is usually just for special occasions, but in Hawaii it’s more of an everyday treat.
Butter mochi is sort of like a cross between mochi and a cake — a little bit dense and chewy like mochi, but baked like a cake. It’s usually made with coconut milk which also adds its own flavor.
Fresh mochi is best eaten the day you get it. It can last for a day or two, but it will start to harden (and unfortunately gets moldy if it sits out for too long).
Fresh mochi can sit out at room temperature, unless it has fresh fruit in it. Then it should be refrigerated.
If you refrigerate your mochi, let it sit out for an hour two to get to room temperature before eating it.
Heads up that refrigerated mochi will start to dry out a bit because of the cold air.
Feel free to jump ahead…
Nisshodo Candy Store
Nisshodo is the sweetest little family run mochi shop and kind of the OG of Oahu mochi makers. They’ve been making Hawaiian style mochi, manju and chichi dango since the 1920s. (They’re one of the oldest candy stores in the United States). Everything is handmade on site daily. Choose from mochi (made from rice flour), manju (made from wheat flour), or chi chi dango (a sweet mochi made from rice flour and coconut milk.)
Chichi Dango (This is their best selling treat and they sell out pretty much every day, so get there early.)
Kinako Chichi Dango (It’s dusted in roasted soybean powder.)
Daifuku Mochi (stuffed with red bean paste)
Peanut Butter Mochi
You can call and order ahead if you want to skip the inevitable line.
Go early. They tend to sell out of their most popular flavors as the day goes on.
Check out our guide to Nisshodo Candy Store.
Fujiya is another old school Oahu mochi shop known for its chi chi dango and fresh fruit mochi. When they first opened, there were tons of mochi shops all over Oahu’s Japanese neighborhoods. In 2020, after 67 years in business, they moved into their current location, right outside Waikiki. All their mochi is made fresh onsite. Through a big glass window inside, you can see the staff making all the mochi in all different flavors. In addition to mochi, they also sell senbei, fried nori chips, and iso peanuts (in all sorts of flavors) — all imported from Japan.
Chi Chi Dango (in plain and haupia flavors)
Fresh Lychee Mochi
Fresh Strawberry Mochi
You can order online and pick up in store.
Izu’s sells handmade mochi at the Kaka’ako Farmers Market on Saturdays. (She’s on the harbor side of the market.) Their mochi has cute little decorations and we love that they do fun seasonal designs on top (like turning them into mummies and Frankensteins for Halloween). They come in different sizes — medium and large, but also sampler packs full of minis if you want to try a variety.
Fresh Strawberry Mochi. (This is what they’re known for.)
Okinawa Sweet Potato Mochi
Peanut Butter Mochi
Sampler of minis (to try several flavors)
You can DM them on Instagram to order ahead of time. She has a separate line for pre order pickups. (Heads up, the account is private. So you may want to request to follow them ahead of time.)
There are always lines, but they move fast.
Go early. They sometimes run out of popular flavors early in the day.
Lanikai Mochi is the new kid on the block. (They just opened in 2019.) This is the best place to get butter mochi in all sorts of flavors — like Mac Nut, Lilikoi, Kona Coffee, Banana Nut, and Peanut Butter, along with special seasonal ones. They sell at a bunch of different farmers markets, including the Kaka’ako Farmers Market and KCC Farmers Market. And a cool thing about their butter mochi is that all 4 sides of the squares have a crust because they’re baked in individual molds. They use local ingredients whenever they can and everything’s gluten free.
Lilikoi Butter Mochi
Ube Butter Mochi
Banana Nut Butter Mochi
Check their Instagram to see where they’re going to be.
Happy Hearts Mochi
Happy Hearts is a local favorite known for their stuffed mochi, which are all made by hand. Some of the flavors include Peanut Butter, Haupia, Chocolate Haupia, and Hazelnut Coffee. Or you can get them with a whole fresh strawberry inside. The tricky thing about them is that they don’t have a retail store. You have to order in advance through email (which can take a long time of going back and forth) at least 2 days in advance and then you pick them up at Natsunoya Tea House. Starting in 2022, you also must have a minimum order of $200 unless you’re ordering for one of the special occasions they’ve listed on their website. Check their website for the specific dates to order for those holidays and then you can order any amount you want.
Bento #4 to try a little bit of everything
Fresh Strawberry Mochi
Hazelnut Coffee Haupia
You must get an order confirmation to pick up your mochi. If they don’t send you one, they’re not making those mochi.
Email them at email@example.com to place your order.
If you’re not ordering during one of the timeframes reserved for upcoming holidays, the minimum order is $200.
Daizu Tei serves premium fresh fruit filled mochi at several Oahu farmers markets including the KCC Farmers Market and the Kaka’ako Farmers Market. They’re a little pricey at $4 / piece (and you have to buy a minimum of 4 pieces), but their mochi is made fresh, without any preservatives, and completely organic.
Fresh Strawberry with Azuki Beans Mochi (This is the one they’re known for.)
Fresh Mango Mochi (when available)
Fresh Peach with White Bean Mochi (when available)
Go early. They sell out of their most popular flavors (like the Fresh Strawberry Mochi).
Look for seasonal flavors like Pear, Mango, and Peach.
Minamoto Kitchoan is where you splurge. It’s a high end Japanese confectionery with over 250 shops in Japan, plus several more in Singapore and London. In Oahu, you’ll find them at the Ala Moana Center or in Kahala. Their mochi comes in seasonal flavors like Green Peach, Strawberry, Chestnut, or Persimmon. In the spring there are confectioneries with cherry blossoms. In addition to mochi, you’ll find dorayaki (which is like a mix between a cake and a cookie), seasonal senbei, jellied fruits, matcha green tea truffles, castella sponge cakes, pineapple cream cheese manju, and so much more. Treats here are expensive but it’s because they the use the absolute best quality ingredients (absolutely no preservatives) and they’re individually wrapped up like beautiful little gifts. All of their treats are flown in from Japan.
Hakuto Mochi (White Peach)
You can order online and pick up at the Ala Moana shop.
This is the vegan restaurant that even meat eaters love. They serve up a vegan butter mochi (but made without real butter of course) with rotating flavors.
There’s usually just one flavor at a time and it changes daily, but these are some past hits:
Local Kalo Black Sesame Mochi
Chocolate Banana Mochi
Coconut Blueberry Mochi
You can order online (or at least look at the online menu to see what the mochi flavor of the day is.
Ok, not traditional mochi or even butter mochi. They’re on the list for their poi mochi donuts. Yes, they’re known for their Coco Puffs, but we’d argue that their donuts are even better. They make over 3000 of them a day and they’re the perfect amount of chewy and sweet. They also travel well if you want to fly home with some.
Poi Mochi Donuts
Expect a line for baked goods, but it moves fast.
Check out our guide to Liliha Bakery.