This is my first food related post, so I’ll start off by introducing my standards with a simple inequality: Asian food ≠ cheap Chinese takeouts.
I absolutely love food and I strongly promote the authenticity of cultural foods. That means no General Tso’s chicken—which by the way was actually invented in the United States and virtually unheard of in China—or the like. I have a strong aversion to seafood dishes, but I am very open to trying out anything “fish-free”—especially desserts. With that said, if you don’t recognize what these are, you’re definitely missing out!
These little pink rice cakes are called mochi (餅) and originated in Japan. They are so deeply rooted in the Japanese culture that there is a special ceremony around New Year’s dedicated to making mochi! But of course, one can enjoy them any time of the year. Literally meaning “cake” or “biscuit,” mochi are made of glutinous rice, coupled with an assortment of fillings. For example, the ones in the picture are probably strawberry flavored, but I’ve seen green tea, taro, vanilla, chocolate, and even durian flavors!
Nor are they limited to fruity fillings—mochi ice cream anyone? We can even enjoy mochi with soup and other traditional Japanese dishes, as long as we modify them to suit more savory tastes.
Today, they are widely popular not only in Japan, but also in Korea, Taiwan, and even southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines. Is it too much to say that mochi is a little taste of heaven? Perhaps not. :)