Japanese Style Brown Sugar Mochi- Asian Food Market - Cherry Hill, NJ
Remember this from my last Asian Food Haul Video? It was one of the last boxes in the store, and usually when something is selling out, it means that it's really good. I didn't want to miss out on it, since products aren't always restocked at the Asian Food Market, so I grabbed a box to review. Now it's finally time to see if my intuition was right, or if I'm just another mindless sheep.
The packaging features giant photo of the product being served on rustic plates. It's a really nice image, but that oddly shojo-like pastel logo at the top left corner is way out of place. It's something I'd expect to see on a magical girl themed manga, or some kind of cosmetic product, not a box of mochi with such a dark and traditional theme. The rest of the characters and design are very simple and kind of masculine looking, which makes that pastel logo stand out even more. I love it, but it just doesn't fit in with the rest of this packaging. (For the record, the English text is a hot mess as well, but it was put on there for the international market, and those kinds of things usually stick out like a sore, but still functional, thumb.)
Inside the box is a plastic tray wrapped in even more plastic to maintain freshness. Once the plastic bag has been opened, you can smell a sweet brown sugar aroma coming from the 6 truffle-like pieces of mochi. (Which each have their own little red cupcake wrapper.)
I picked out one of the pieces of mochi and took a bite. The first thing I noticed was that these are super messy to eat. This powdery brown coating is everywhere. I'm not sure what this stuff is, you would think it'd be brown sugar, but it's very dry and fine, almost like flour. On it's own, the coating tastes kind of like black tea, which is interesting, but unexpected. After you get past the coating, the mochi underneath is darkly colored, but soft and chewy, like all mochi should be. I can't really tell if the mochi itself has a flavoring, or if the subtle brown sugar notes I'm tasting are from it's exposure to the coating and the filling.
Speaking of filling, this stuff really dark, although it's not quite as black as the package makes it seem. The center of this mochi seems to be some kind of black bean paste that's been mashed up with brown sugar. It's sweet, gritty (as in bean-paste grittiness, not granulated sugar), and it compliments the rest of the textures and flavors very nicely.
When you combine all of these elements, the result is rich, flavorful, chewy lump of mochi with a surprisingly mild level of sweetness. With a name like "Brown Sugar" i expected this to be really molasses-y and sweet, but this is still very mild. The flavor profile is really complex, and the best comparison I have is a lightly sweetened cup of black iced tea, but it works very nicely.
As a snack on it's own, it's pleasant enough, and I like it, but I think this would really shine as a topping for frozen yogurt. Mochi has become quite popular as an dessert topping here in the states (mostly fro-yo, but some ice cream bars have it as well), and this would add a unique flavor and texture that could really appeal to adults.
I liked this stuff, and I'm happy I tried it, but one box is enough for me. I'll have to try it on some frozen yogurt in the near future and let you know how that goes. (I could see it tasting great with some tangy original, or something fresh and fruity.)
© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net
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