Matcha Mochi Ice Cream Madness

Mikawaya (left) and Maeda-en (right) green tea ice cream mochi packaging
Mikawaya (left) and Maeda-en (right) green tea ice cream mochi packaging

What is mochi?
For those who do not know, mochi is a glutinous rice cake that has been pounded into a paste and molded to a shape. The texture is sticky, sometimes gooey, and chewy. It’s often used to create confectionery such as daifuku (mochi commonly stuffed with red bean paste). You can read more about mochi here.

I still remember the day when Costco started selling ice cream mochi. A mob of people surrounded the food sample booth, trying to snag a sample before it ran out. After tasting the delicious morsel, my family immediately bought a vanilla flavored pack. I still stand by the belief that the chewy, sticky goodness of mochi encasing a chunk of ice cream is revolutionary.

A lot of American supermarkets sell ice cream mochi ranging from vanilla to green tea (matcha). Unlike American supermarkets, Japanese supermarkets, at least the ones that are around the area I live, sell two brands of ice cream mochi: Mikawaya and Maeda-en. Serendipitously both brands of ice cream mochi were on sale one week; my mom bought Mikawaya’s green tea ice cream mochi at Safeway and I bought Maeda-en’s green tea ice cream mochi at Marukai.

Mikawaya

  • comes with 6 ice cream mochi
  • mochi has stiff consistency which holds the form better, and immediately becomes chewy in the mouth
  • green tea flavor is very subtle, it’s practically nonexistent; taste has a bit of mint and other weird leafy flavors (I can’t really describe the exact taste but it’s not as pleasant as Maeda-en’s green tea ice cream)

Maeda-en

  • comes with 6 ice cream mochi
  • mochi has sticky consistency which makes everything fall apart after taking a bite into it
  • green tea flavor has the perfect balance of matcha which is no surprise because their green tea ice cream is the best thing ever
  • comparing the price at Marukai, Maeda-en is cheaper than Mikawaya; this could vary among location and stores

Ideally if you combine Mikawaya’s mochi with Maeda-en’s green tea ice cream, I would be like

I hope this doesn’t deter you from trying Mikawaya’s matcha mochi ice cream; the taste might be more suitable for you than Maeda-en’s. Both brands offer an array of flavors, so if matcha isn’t your thing, then you can try chocolate, mango, or even plum wine. Trust me, you can never go back to ice cream sandwiches once you tried an ice cream mochi… maybe you might, but do definitely try ice cream mochi once in your life.

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