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Friends quit their day jobs to start Port Coquitlam mochi doughnut bakery — and it's taking off

Working out of a commissary kitchen in Port Coquitlam, two young entrepreneurs hope to make a name for themselves with their special brand of Holy Mochi doughnuts.

Mochi doughnuts are the latest popular doughnut craze. 

Gluten-free, lightly deep-fried and soft without being squishy, these flower-shaped circles of goodness take the best from Asian and American cooking and combine them into a delicious dessert.

Now, they are being sold in specialty cafés across the Lower Mainland, including in Port Coquitlam, New Westminster, Surrey and Burnaby, at a new bakery called Holy Mochi.

Started by Kathy Nguyen, a digital marketer, and nurse Maria Adato, the friends spent eight months coming up with their signature flavours and cooking process before giving up their day jobs to work on the business full time.

Today, they work out of the GongYou Kitchen, a small commissary kitchen located in Port Coquitlam.

"It was exciting and it was scary, too. It definitely lit a fire under our butt," said Nguyen of quitting her job to start the business.

Both are foodies and enjoy exploring new food trends; when they came across mochi doughnuts in the U.S., they fell in love with the treat.

Trying out new desserts is, for the two, "our moment of happiness," said Nguyen. 

"It is our escape," added Adato.

Blending their Philippine and Vietnamese food traditions into flavour profiles that are distinct without being overly sweet, the two may have something special on their hands.

Mochi doughnuts are made of rice flower and combined into a liquid dough that is dropped into lacy circles into a deep fryer.

It takes only two minutes to fry the doughnuts into spectacular rings that can be pulled apart to share.

Meanwhile, Holy Mochi's delicate icing comes in flavours such as coco pandan (a grassy vanilla flavour); blood orange (made with Italian puree); Vietnamese coffee; jasmine rose milk tea; and chocolate caramel popcorn.

Extra touches are added, including dried orange, coconut, crunchy caramel popcorn and salted caramel.

"We have flavour rotations," noted Nguyen, who said the duo likes to experiment with new flavours, while also making sure there are enough Vietnamese coffee and macha green tea mochi doughnuts to keep customers happy.

This little start up is starting to get noticed, thanks to some savvy Instagram branding and partnerships with popular coffee shops, such as C Market Coffee and online platforms, such as Uber Eats and LOCVL.

Holy Mochi doughnuts are also sold at The Hive Cafe and Gong cha bubble tea shop in New Westminster and Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby.

It's obviously a big task to launch a business from scratch, and the women admit they went from a 9-to-5 job to a 12-hour day adventure.

But, if you talk to the two entrepreneurs behind Holy Mochi, you'll find a couple of hard-working women who know their desserts and are thrilled to bring their creations to the world.

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