Perhaps you’ve noticed it before in Trader Joe’s frozen section, but you weren’t sure what it was or how to say it (the “ch” is pronounced like chocolate, not like mocha).
How to describe it? Think of it as a somewhat flattened ball of ice cream covered in a thick, elastic skin. Kind of like fried ice cream except not fried. Like they battered it all up and forgot about it for some undetermined length of time.
The Mikawaya brand comes in four flavors: strawberry, chocolate, mango, and green tea. Originally a Japanese confection traditional to their New Year’s celebration, the skin is actually made of glutinous rice. However, the ingredient list on our box included a pinch of wheat so as to alienate the celiacs (was that disappointment in my mother’s face or relief?).
The concept is kind of weird, but really kind of intriguing once you figure out how to cut through it with your spoon without completely smushing it (Got…to get…to the ice cream). My sister wasn’t impressed. She said her strawberry mochi tasted like a cartoon (more Hello Kitty than Dragon Ball Z, I presume).
Still, my 4-year old was willing to trade in his chocolate chip cookie for a few oddly chewy spoonfuls of mine, and he’s not an easy sell (although, to be fair, he was still recovering from a bad melted-chocolate-chips-all-over- my-fingers-help-my-skin-is-melting-off kind of emergency situation). And when we finished (they’re pretty small), I have to admit, I felt cheated. Out of more mochi or my lost youth, I’m not sure. Maybe both.
Bottom line: I’d eat another one. Possibly, a whole box of six. It helps to have a 10-year-old girl nearby. Not a bad idea for slumber parties. But, over the long term, I don’t usually like too much coming between me and my ice cream.