Go and eat your art out
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Walking into Minamoto Kitchoan is much like setting foot in a museum. Sparkling glass cases reveal treats, perfectly shaped and delicately created. There’s an overwhelming sense of awe, and some very real fear of touching something you shouldn’t.
But that’s the great thing about Minamoto Kitchoan — all of it is there to be, well, eaten. And yes, everything tastes as good as it looks.
Located on the ground floor of Ala Moana Center near Center Stage, Minamoto Kitchoan specializes in Japanese confections. Though don’t let that fool you into expecting a crazed sugar rush. All of the treats are created with unrefined sugar, and present a more nuanced sweetness to look forward to.
Take, for example, Hakuto Mochi ($15.20 for eight pieces, $19.80 for 12 pieces, $32 for 20 pieces). The light pinkish-hued mochi is soft, and each bite gives way to subtle flavors of white peach beans. For those who are green-tea diehards, Matcha Mochi filled with red beans also is available for the same price.
Other popular items with customers have been Matcha and Fukuwatashi Senbei ($12 for four pieces, $3 each). These zigzag-designed cookies are filled with vanilla or matcha cream.
Travel just a few steps to the other side of the store and indulge in some chocolates or truffles. It’s a new section called Chocolat Royal Rokumeikan that the shop added in January, and it features Western-influenced Japanese chocolates.
Here, you will find items like Paves Au Chocolate Truffles ($20 per box with 15 pieces), available in two flavors: matcha and chocolate. Each bite gives way to rich and silky textures, and melts almost instantly — a style that office manager Yayoi Akana explains is particularly popular in Japan.
It isn’t just about sweets, though, at Minamoto Kitchoan. The shop also seeks to share its culture with customers.
Next month, Minamoto Kitchoan will take part in Tanabata. Also known as the Star Festival, this celebration is marked by writing wishes or prayers on small pieces of paper and hanging them on a bamboo tree.
So really, in many ways, Minamoto Kitchoan is much like a museum with pieces of edible art to experience in the store. Just don’t forget that in this case, you get to take home something to enjoy and share.
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.