I have traveled to the west side of Chula Vista many times because my best friend used to live there. In my many years of traipsing around Chula Vista with Keyanna, I never came across this bakery even though it was only about half a mile from her home! Shane and I only recently discovered this gem on a search for the infamous wagashi, Japanese tea cakes.
Hogetsu is hidden away in a tiny shopping center, not visible from the street. The exterior of the building looks a little industrial, therefore not so much like a warm inviting bakery. However, when you step inside, magic happens!
I about died when I saw the colorful little tea cakes! Above, were our purchases from the bakery. Afterwards, we quickly resented placing such a small order.
The bakery is owned by an old Japanese couple that make all the wagashi on the premises. They certainly have a special talent for making beautiful, tasty objects out of rice! The brown tea cake on the right, was the first one we tasted. It had a very thin, light pancake wrapping the outside and was branded with cherry blossoms. Inside was a sweet mochi, rice dough, and this was one of the softest textured mochi I have ever eaten! It was like biting into a pillowy cloud. It became very clear that the pastries were just freshly made! Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what the names of these individual tea cakes are, however, teacake #1 was delicious!
We read a suggestion on Yelp that it was best to come to the bakery right when it opened to get first pick, otherwise the best selections would have already disappeared! We certainly didn’t want that to happen, so we showed up right at their opening time, 10am, which fortunately is not too terribly early.
The second tea cake we tried was the rainbow colored mochi. It looked like colorful toy sashimi because it was rectangular in shape and the bottom was white like a bed of rice. The rice was equally soft as the first, however, this was my least favorite. The top colorful portion was slightly salty in flavor making this mochi more savory. Shane’s description of it’s flavor was very accurate, “like the finest play-doh”! He did find this play-doh quality odd but, strangely, he took a liking to it. Come, on! Admit it! We all tried to eat play-doh as kids and remember it’s distinctly salty taste. Although, I have to admit I was a little exceptional in that I tried to eat many non-food items as a child which included silica gel and my mother’s contact lenses!
I digress! At any rate, tea cake #2 received mixed reviews. Shane liked the rainbow mochi and I did not. Although, If you have a strange desire to reminisce about your play-doh eating days, definitely give this a try!
The third tea cake we reviewed was the purple, plum-shaped mochi. They certainly do not overlook details at this bakery because they made a little green stem coming out of the plum from agar-agar which is a seaweed derived gelatin. The plum mochi was my favorite! It had same soft rice dough on the outside, except it had this extraordinary melt-in-your-mouth quality! Inside, was a soft, sweet, smooth red bean filling. Shane and I both loved this, so we definitely recommend tea cake #3!
The last tea cake we tried was the mochi shaped like a white peach. They even captured the beautiful color gradation on a real peach as the color transitions from pink to white. This too had a little agar-agar detail except this was a little green leaf. The peach mochi had the same incredibly soft rice dough on the outside. The inside had a sweet white/yellow bean paste that was more firm in texture than the plum-shaped mochi. This was also, tasty and we recommend this as well!
We came to Hogetsu with our friends, Chrissy and John. They, very smartly, purchased many items which you can see below.
I will definitely come back to Hogetsu and purchase more amazing tea cakes! I hope you have an opportunity to visit Hogetsu as well! 🙂
Shane, Chrissy, John and I made a video review of our purchases from Hogetsu. If you want to watch some silliness, watch our video below!