It’s no secret that I love mochi ice cream. I reviewed the tiny ones made by Lotte earlier on NEAROF!, and I’ve loved almost every other brand of mochi ice cream I’ve tried so far.
I’ve only recently started to experiment with non-ice-cream mochi, and let me tell you, I’m nuts for those, too. Instead of being frozen with an ice-cream filling, they’re sold fresh at room temperature, made with flavoured mochi (the pounded rice paste that makes mochi, well, mochi), and sometimes wrapped around a centre of filling.
And where have I found some truly amazing mochi? Back in Hawaii, at the Ala Moana shopping centre in Honolulu, where I first discovered mochi ice cream.
In the food court (of all places), there’s a spectacular little stand called Kansai Yamato that sells dozens of flavours of mochi, made fresh in Honolulu. They’re sold on foam trays wrapped in plastic, each tray with a handy ingredient list so there are no surprises hidden inside. Of all the flavours on offer, I picked the chocolate peanut butter variety. Why? Because I love peanut butter cups, and I wanted to see what a mochi version would taste like.
The texture of these things is even more amazing than mochi ice-cream. The exterior is silky soft, chewy and gooey, with a chunky peanut-butter filling in the middle that changes up the texture even more. Hard little bits of nut contrast with the sticky, starchy rice paste. I don’t know how else to describe it.
The taste is lightly cocoa-infused, with a dominant flavour of sweet, sticky rice. Once you hit the peanut butter, you get a surge of salty, roasted peanut that combines with the sweet rice paste. As you chew away at it, the flavour and texture evolves in your mouth.
They’re delicious and wonderfully fun to eat.
(Fun fact! According to the young woman at the counter, mochi is pronounced MOH-CHEE, not moh-key. So I guess I’ve been saying it wrong for a year and a half. Oh well.)
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.79 per tray of three or four mochi. Varies.
Value for cash money: Just fine for a special handmade treat.
Availability: These ones? Only in Hawaii. Other similar mochi treats? Check around at grocery stores that carry Japanese goodies.
Nutrition?: Absolutely no idea. Sorry. No info on the package, either.
The verdict: Really, really good. I’ll be trying to track down a version of these when I get back home to Canada.