Giant strawberry daifuku

A few months ago, I was watching a program on television about snacks in Tainan.  One of the segments that really stood out was about a shop that makes a type of giant-sized mochi called ‘dafu’ (大福, known in Japanese as daifuku).  So of course I had to try some out when I next visited Tainan.

Mochi are a Japanese rice cake made from sticky rice.  In Japan, male members of the household traditionally pound sticky rice on New Year’s day (1 January) until it forms a smooth elastic dough.  In Taiwan, mochi (麻糬, pronounced in Taiwanese as môa-chî ) are eaten throughout the year, more commonly as a sweet filled with Chinese-style pastes (e.g. red bean, black sesame or green tea).  The popularity, and evolution, of mochi in Taiwan is one is further indication of Japan’s culinary legacy and Taiwanese adaptation.

Interior of the Fulewu shop, set up to look like a house within

Fulewu (福樂屋, literally ‘happy house’) is famous for its giant daifu, a type of mochi filled with real fruit and pastes. Its most famous item is a dafu filled with large organic strawberries, which the company grows itself, surrounded by a red bean paste. 

The owner of Dafule, standing at the counter in his shop

On the television program I watched, the owner demonstrated the art of making the red bean paste (they boil and rinse the red beans three times), selecting the right strawberries, creating the elastic dough from glutinous rice and artfully pinching the skin so that it smoothly covers the mochi.  So I was excited to meet the man himself, who happened to be serving behind the counter when we visited.

Strawberry dafu with red bean paste

In addition to strawberry, the shop makes a range of other dafu varieties (in season), including mango, kiwifruit and banana.  When I visited, they also served a variety with persimmon (a type of orange-fleshed fruit), as well as almond and sesame versions.  

A range of fresh dafu on display

Fulewu also makes luxury savoury dafu versions using XO sauce, abalone and scallops, as well as moon cakes, ice-cream moon cakes and ice-cream mochi.  And then they sell Taiwanese style products such as salty-plum juice and Penghu style peanut sweets. 

A range of sweets and other products on display

I chose to sample one of the shop’s famous strawberry and red bean mochi (NT$45). It was slightly bigger than a golf ball.  The fresh tartness of the strawberry was a perfect complement to the slightly sweet red bean paste and chewy mochi skin.  My only regret — I was still full from dinner so had to refrain after one.

A strawberry dafu, seen next to a NT$5 coin for comparison

Having watched way to many forensics TV series and movies (I used to be a bit of a crime buff), I have photographed the dafu next to a coin so that you can get a sense of its approximate size.

Mobile dafu -- you can buy an insulated box and have the dafu delivered

My next dilemma was easily solved:  I wanted to share the dafu with colleagues at work, but was not heading back to Taipei for another day and did not have a fridge to store them in.  It seems I am not the only visitor to Tainan who wanted to share these dafu delights.  For an additional NT$100 (around US$3) I was able to purchase an insulated box, which comfortably held a dozen dafu.  And at a small additional cost, they organised refrigerated next day delivery.  All up NT$790 (US$26) for a dozen giant dafu which arrived as promised before lunch the next day via refrigerated courier.

A dozen dafu, packed snugly in their insulated box, arrived promptly the next day

Fulewu is situated in Tainan City, at 113 Zhongyi Road Section 2 (福樂蛋糕(福樂麻糬FLMG), 700 台南市中區忠義路二段113號), telephone (06 221 2727).  Despite having lived in Tainan as a student, I always feel a little disoriented by the sheer diversity of life in Tainan, but I think it was not too far from the Dutch fort of Chikanlou and surrounding temples.  They are a popular stop for people buying food gifts to take home after a visit to Tainan, so can get busy on weekends.  The shop recommends refrigerating the dafu and consuming within three days (our did not last that long).

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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4 Responses to Giant strawberry daifuku

  1. Tsu Lin says:

    Haven’t been to Tainan but oh my!!! I would LOVE these mochis/moa chis so much! These are so unique, with a whole fruit inside.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      They are delicious! I was not sure how the strawberry would match the sweetness of the mochi, but they were a perfect balance. It is almost worth travelling to Tainan just to try them. I didn’t try any of the ohter flavours, but next time I will definitely sample the mango ones.

  2. Teresa says:

    Hi,

    I found your blog it’s great. My husband and I originally planned to go to Taipei but it’s just too cold to go up north. So we took all your suggestions for eating in Tainan and tried all but the fruit shakes and the lolly.

    I have to say we REALLY liked the strawberry mochi. It’s super fab.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Thank you so much! I am so thrilled that you not only visited Tainan, but also tried some of the snack places that I am so fond of. Did you have trouble finding any of them? And yes, the strawberry daifuku are amazing. I don’t know how they manage to grow strawberries that are so big yet so sweet. I had originally thought the red bean might detract from the strawberries, but they meld well together.

      Anyway, hope you enjoyed your trip and that it won’t be your last visit to Taiwan.

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