What's mochi? Originating in Japan, Mochi is a rice cake made from glutinous rice, which is first pounded into a paste and then molded into the desired shape. It is traditionally made in a ceremony called 'mochitsuki' in Japan, but is commonly enjoyed year-round. Mochi is not only a traditional food for the Japanese New Year, and is commonly sold and eaten during that time, but it is also a prominent snack in places such Hawaii, Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, China, and other Asian countries.