I’m so lucky to live in a city with different supermarket options: I know I can get the best herbs, spices, and grains at the Turkish supermarket, and I can get my hands on all sorts of goodies at one of the big Asian supermarkets. Although my basket is normally filled with staples like soba noodles and tempeh, once in a while I walk down the colourful snack aisle and go wild. Today was one of those days.
It’s only been in the past 5 years or so where I’ve really become a passionate food explorer – a mixture of growing up and moving to a very multicultural city. As a result, Japanese food is still relatively new to me, having never tried it before I moved to Frankfurt. So far, everything I’ve tried I’ve loved, but I’m building up my knowledge bite by bite so I can hopefully one day visit and eat my way around the country (my preferred way to travel). I’ve already tried onigiri as one of my new things, and I have okonomiyaki on the list, today was the turn of mochi – a sweet, glutinous rice cake, that I was surprised I hadn’t tasted before.
They’re normally a bit bigger, a little smaller than a cupcake, but I wanted to start small and see how I found it. Mochi is made when short-grain, glutinous rice is steamed and then pounded to form a paste. It is then moulded into rounds before finally being filled with mainly a sweet, but sometimes savoury, filling. I believe the most common filling is a red bean paste (but I could be wrong), but can be made with all sorts of flavours – check out Just One Cookbook on how to make your own.
As you can see, these are really small ones, just enough for a bite or two, and that’s pretty much all I wanted anyway. The soft, squishy, and chewy texture didn’t bother me, it was mainly the taste or lack thereof.
I don’t know if I just had a bad batch, but I could only pick up a faint whisper of strawberry from the jammy centre, and the rest didn’t really taste of anything at all. I was quite surprised – I was expecting it to be a lot more flavourful given its popularity. I had a few more just to double-check, but sadly mochi did absolutely nothing for me. I ended giving up the rest away to a mochi-loving friend.
I was expecting to like mochi so this was a surprise, but rather than put me off, it made me more curious to try a different flavour next time, just to see.