Next time you're in Japantown to enjoy ramen at popular Suzu Noodle House, do yourself a favor and stop by the nearby odd-looking little shop next to the stairwell. Kissako Tea offers some unique sweet treats ― check the display case on a small table to the right of the counter to find our favorite warabi mochi ($1.50 per serving), a treat with a jellylike consistency, covered with kinako (roasted soybean powder) for a nutty flavor. (Green tea powder flavor is another choice.)
This is the only version we know that contains some warabi-ko flour, given that 100 percent warabi-ko is not available in the U.S. In comparison, the warabi mochi sold at nearby Cafe Hana ($3.75 for 10 pieces) is not as supple since it's made from potato starch, the instant kind you find in Asian supermarkets.
Kissako Tea specializes in wagashi, Japanese confections typically served with tea. And new assortments of manju arrive every Friday from the Shuei-Do Manju shop in San Jose.
Kissako Tea: 1581 Webster (at Post), #195, 567-4988. Open Tue.-Wed., 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Thu.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Closed Mon.