Mochi Pounding and Free Tasting
Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
Ariyoshi Japanese Restaurant – 41-13 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside, Queens (between 41st and 42nd Streets)
Admission: Free ($14 for Sake)
Say goodbye to 2021 and welcome a new beginning in 2022 with fresh mochi and sake at Ariyoshi Japanese Restaurant in Sunnyside.
New Year’s Ritual
It’s customary for the Japanese to celebrate the New Year with a mochi-tsuki event. Mochi is glutinous rice, generally filled with red bean paste, that you can find at every Japanese grocery store. In this New Year’s ritual, uncooked rice is soaked in water overnight and then steamed the next day. A round, sticky blob of the warm steamed rice is placed in a usu, or mortar made of wood or stone, and then pounded (tsuki) with a large wooden mallet, or kine.
The mochi pounding is a two-person job, with one person handling the mallet and another turning the rice while the mallet is in the air. They pound and turn the mochi until it is smooth and shiny.
When the mochi is ready, it is cut into blocks (noshi-mochi) or spheres (maru-mochi). It is dusted with a rice flour for a sweet taste. Or it can be grilled and topped with soy sauce and wrapped in a piece of seaweed if savory is your preference.
Watch Ariyoshi staff and guests in action on Instagram.
Mochi-tsuki at Ariyoshi
Following this tradition, Ariyoshi Japanese Restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens, is hosting a mochi-tsuki ceremony on January 2.
There will be three sessions: 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. The restaurant is offering free tastings of the mochi, and all-you-can-drink Ozeki sake is yours for $14.
This event is fun for the entire family: Children can try their hand at pounding the mochi with the mallet.
A Queens staple since 1975, Ariyoshi is an izakaya that also serves ramen, sushi, and sake. You can see them at every JapanFes street fair, grilling up squid.
For more information about the mochi-tsuki event, please visit Ariyoshi’s website or call 718-937-3288.