The Tastebud Traveler
Always Learn, Always Travel
Week 6 - Mochi - Japanese Fusion
I knew that my weekend spent in Richmond was definitely going to prevent me from making a dessert for the blog this past weekend. A few ideas had rolled around in my head of desserts I might try at local restaurants but nothing really jumped out at me. Suddenly, however, at the eleventh hour an unexpected Whole Foods trip for Pellegrino and a late night snack led me past the freezer section, and an unusual sight. A group of people beelining for a stand alone freezer. The kind that usually holds frozen fish or waffles or other not so intriguing things. 8:30 at night on a Sunday what was making everybody so animated?
I hear a few words "O.M.G, those are so good!", "Ahh I want some!" and finally "Mochi". There it was, I finally knew what the fuss was about. I walked up to the case and inside were rows of colorful muffin tin shaped balls that reminded me of the colorful bath bomb soaps. Still considering I stood there a minute and a random stranger walks by and says "oh man, Mochi, those are soooo good." Apparently Richmond, Virginia knew something I did not.
Reading the sign on the outside of the freezer, I learn that it is a "traditional Japanese ice cream treat combining unique flavor and texture combos" - and there it was, my dessert for the week fell straight into my lap.
Mochi is ice cream wrapped in "mochi" a smooth rice based "dough". It is a fusion of American ice cream and the traditional Japanese desserts Daifuku and Manju. Daifuku and Manju are both desserts made with a mochi or other pounded rice coating with a sweet center usually a traditional sweetened bean paste. (A new name is in order other than bean paste, like "lemon curd" not the most appealing name. 😊)
The history of the company that created Mochi, Mikawaya, is the story of a Japanese American family's ingenuity and endurance. According to their website it was founded as a Japanese confectionary in 1910 in L.A. Having to close up shop because of the war, they didn't let that stop them and reopened in 1945. Then the founders great niece, Frances Hashimoto, came up with the idea of fusing the American with the Japanese and the modern Mochi was born.
Mochi comes in a variety of flavors from the expected Vanilla Bean and Double Chocolate, to Cookies and Cream, Ripe Strawberry, Sweet Mango, and Green Tea. The colors are super appealing.
I decided to go with the simplest, one Vanilla Bean and one Double Chocolate. The outside is dusted in a white powder that is traditional Mochi is cornstarch or potato flour which I learned was there to help the molding of the Mochi and prevent sticking. It was tasteless and did not affect the flavor or texture as far as i could tell.
My first bite of the vanilla bean reminded me of marshmallow mixed with ice cream. The Mochi outside is sweet and melts in your mouth as you sink your teeth in. The inside is delicious ice cream. I never met an ice cream I didn't like. You don't need a spoon or fork to eat Moshi just grab and bite.
The combination was a very interesting combination of gooey, sweet and chewy that must be tried to explain. I am looking forward to trying some of there other flavors, I think Ripe Strawberry will be my next pick, or Kona Coffee, ahhhhh the choices!
Try Moshi and see what you think!
Want to know as soon as the next Tastebud Traveler post comes out?
Subscribe below, or follow us on BlogLovin.