Turns out that your favourite local restaurant is the perfect place to make new friends. Why? A. They’ll share your awesome taste in restaurants. B. They’ll live in the same area. C. They’ll be willing to share their other local faves. These mochi (ground rice cakes) were a gift from Megumi-chan, who I met in my favourite ramen house. Since bonding over gyoza, cha-han (fried rice), and char siew garlic ramen (and maybe a few Asahis), we’ve gone on a restaurant tour of our area, sharing our picks for “Best Yakitori”, “Best Okonomiyaki” and “Best Snack Bar” and are now planning a foodie trip to Korea. But back to the mochi. Made by pounding white rice with a huge wooden mallet until it forms a sticky paste, it’s traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day. Because it contains such a high quantity of white rice, it’s apparently so high in calories that many Japanese gain weight after January 1 from eating too much mochi!