Dennis Chan may have launched his fried-chicken food truck Dirty Bird to Sydneysiders first, but what he really had in mind was Demochi – a venue specialising in mochi doughnuts.

“I was hoping the doughnuts would come before Dirty Bird,” he tells Broadsheet. “But it took so long to get the recipe right that at one point it felt impossible, so I put it on the backburner.”

Mochi hails from Japan and is made from mochigome, a glutinous rice flour that is pounded into a paste and then moulded into a shape. It’s sticky, stretchy and gummy. At Demochi, it’s been fashioned into a doughnut and has a thin, crisp bite that’s surprisingly airy and light but with a little chew.

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Chan decided to make time between running Dirty Bird and his other job as a pharmacist to recipe test. “I thought it would be really simple to do but it actually took so long,” he says. “The biggest challenge was trying to get the mochi-to-doughnut ratio right. You don’t want it so chewy it’s like bubble gum. You want there to be distinction between a doughnut and the slight chew you get from a mochi.”

The idea came to Chan five years ago when he was traveling with his wife Monique in Japan. Mochi is traditionally baked or boiled, but there they discovered a deep-fried version.

The Demochi Donut Bar – a play on the word “mochi” and the couple’s nicknames (“De” for Dennis, “Mon” for Monique) – is a standalone marquee next to the Dirty Bird food truck in Banksia, in Sydney’s south. Chan says it will serve as a testing ground to see how accepting crowds are of the mochi-doughnut hybrid, but he’s already thinking about expanding. “I hope mochi doughnuts are the next cronuts [croissant-doughnut hybrid]. Eventually, I’d like Demochi to either be a food truck or a shopfront.”

The doughnuts are available in two flavours on Fridays and Saturdays: original honey glaze and a flavour of the week, such as cereal-milk frost, green tea, yuzu mint, chocolate iced, strawberry and hundreds and thousands. “It’s a mix of American and Japanese flavours to represent the fusion of the two cultures,” he says.

Demochi Donut Bar
286 Princes Highway, Banksia

Fri & Sat 6pm–9pm

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on June 18, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.