I tried Mochi Balls so you don’t have to

I tried Mochi Balls so you don’t have to

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ethan Leifman

Ben and Jerry’s seems to constantly be coming up with wackier flavors; the potato chip filled Tonight Dough was one of my favorite flavors until it vanished from Whole Foods. But sometimes, ice cream can go a little too far. Example A: mochi balls.

Though traditional mochi (a rice-based dessert) is widely eaten in Japan, I tried the Americanized version. These are little balls of mochi-coated ice cream that can fit in the palm of your hand. Mochi balls, officially known as mochi ice cream, were first sold in the United States in Hawaii in 1994 by the Japanese-American confectionery Mikayawa. Mochi balls eventually made their way to the East Coast, and can now be found in many stores across DC, including Cleveland Park’s Streets Market, which is where two of my friends and I found ourselves. As we were leaving the store, we spotted a freezer right before the checkout. My friend Jake convinced us we had to try these strange treats, so we obliged. I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw the $1.50 price tag. $1.50! For a treat the size of a small cookie!

As soon as I bit into the mochi ball, I knew I had made a grave mistake. It was too chewy on the outside and too soft on the inside. The room temperature of the rice shell terribly juxtaposed the freezing cold of the ice cream that soon melted into my hand. As we walked back to Jake’s house, the melting mochi ball filled the divot in my palm. I was so uncomfortable. The chocolate flavoring was also wrong, tasting too chocolatey but at the same time not chocolatey enough. It tasted exactly like rice and ice cream, which is what it was, but it was still gross. Jake attested that the fruitier flavors like mango were better, but I still can’t comprehend what was going through the Mikayawa executives’ heads when they gave the green light to this product. I guess if you’re a fan of cultural fusion and don’t care about your dessert’s taste or texture you might like this snack, but everyone else should stay far, far away from mochi balls.