Move over cronuts, it’s all about mochi and mochido. This past weekend I drove all the way down to San Jose to grab a box (two actually because that’s what crazy foodies do) with my friends after my aunt bought some for me as a gift. By the time I entered Mitsuwa, where the Mochi Cream counter was located, there were all but five minutes until the market closed and the guard was preventing more people from entering. I begged him to let me through and explained that I had driven an hour for my sweets fix, to which he finally agreed, and ran like a mad woman to the counter. Neat rows of colorful mochi, all twenty-seven flavors of them, sat behind a beautiful glass counter. Rushing adrenaline pushed me to fire off the list of flavors that I wanted (reason kept me from ordering one of each), and I finally ended up with eight mochi and three mochido’s.
Based in Kobe, Mochi Cream opened its first store in Umeda in 2004 before expanding throughout the country and overseas to Korea, Hong Kong, Ukraine (you heard me right), and the States. All mochi are made in Japan before being shipped over, so naturally they’re frozen to preserve freshness, but they taste just as good as freshly made ones. In addition to the eight flavors I ordered above, I chose the Double Mango, Strawberry Short Cake, and Green Tea mochido’s.
The sesame one is one of my favorites. Each bite is intensely aromatic, and the sesame seeds embedded into the skin give a light crunch. The cream inside was so soft and fluffy, it was like biting into clouds.
The red sweet potato was a joyful surprise, its bean paste fillings capture the earthiness of a roasted sweet potato just right, all the way from the saltiness of a caramelized skin down to the inner sweetness of the flesh. The mochi skin was still as soft as ever, and each bite was surprisingly light.
I admit I ordered edamame, or green soybean, just to see what it tasted like. The inside filling is coarser than the previous pastes, with noticeable bits of crushed edamame. There’s a toned down saltiness to the mochi, but all in all, it was a tasty treat.
Sakura was my least favorite since it was even saltier than the edamame mochi. Crushed bits of sakura leaves left an intense aroma, and texture wise, it was still as soft as the others.
A thick layer of matcha powder covers the outside of the mochi, lending an intense bitterness that isn’t entirely welcome. The middle layer of cream helps to balance that bitterness somewhat, but I still wished there was less matcha powder outside since the filling was already strongly flavored. Bits of adzuki bean are mixed into the paste, but its taste is imperceptible.
Unlike the other mochi that had a bean paste based filling, the raspberry mille-feuille had a custard cream filling mixed with crunchy flakes and sweetly cooked raspberries. My favorite part was the crisps mixed in since it helps replicate the texture of a true mille-feuille, but the custard cream was way too sweet for my taste.
The Darjeeling was akin to eating creamy milk tea in mochi form. It was incredibly light, and reminded me of my favorite Japanese milk tea brewed by Kirin called Pungency. The flavor of the tea was brisk but not bitter, and there was just enough sweetness to make the mochi an absolute delight. If I could only have ordered one flavor, this would be it.
After tasting the raspberry mille-feuille, I was almost afraid that the caramel macchiato one would be sickly sweet like the Starbucks drink. Surprisingly though, the caramel played only as a second flavor, with subtle hints of burnt toffee. The coffee flavor was light and seductive, and the coffee cream inside added an extra fragrance.
The green tea mochido was encrusted with a layer of matcha chocolate not dissimilar to that of the matcha kit-kats you find in Japan, with the same green tea bean paste and a whisper of whipped cream inside for the filling. The skin is a bit stickier than the regular mochi, but tasty nonetheless.
The mochi skin of the double mango mochido was a bit more stiff and thicker. Fresh cream is blended with diced mango inside, and the result is a light and fruity filling that reminds you of tasting summer itself.
The strawberry shortcake was way too sticky to be properly aesthetically photographed as it clung to its plastic wrap, and my attempts to keep it whole when taking it out were ruined. This mochido was probably my least favorite, since it didn’t taste like real strawberries, but rather much like that of the triangular Japanese strawberries chocolates. It was still very light, but I would take a slice of strawberry shortcake over this mochido any day.
If you’ve gotten all the way down to this description, I would have to say congratulations! After devouring so many mochi by myself in one sitting, I was feeling full and more than a bit weary of mochi. I guess there are times when there is too much of a good thing.
Mochi Cream (in Mitsuwa)
675 Saratoga Avenue
San Jose, CA 95129