Mochi, the traditional Japanese sticky rice cakes, can be one of the best vehicles for holding in all sorts of goodies, from red bean paste to ice cream. Biting into these gooey, chewy rice balls, you never know what you’ll find.
During my recent trip home to Honolulu, I went looking for some creative mochi treats and I found them at Made in Hawaii Foods. While this company makes an assortment of treats – from candied popcorn to jams to sauces – it’s the mochi that brings even the locals to check out its store in the Moiliili neighborhood. (There’s also a factory outlet in Pearl City.)
Made in Hawaii Foods’ more popular mochi is the one filled with fresh strawberries. I purchased a two-pack ($5.95) that also had some red azuki beans surrounding the strawberries, although you can also get it with traditional chocolate coating.
The local strawberries from Maui were so sweet that they were a nice complement to the semi-sweet sticky mochi skin.
Also generating buzz are Made in Hawaii Foods’ cream cheese mochi, and I got a three-pack ($5.75) with liliko`i (passion fruit), haupia (coconut cream) with chocolate, and peanut butter. I’m a big fan of haupia, the coconut gelatin treat, but I think it was overpowered by the chocolate so I think next time I would get just the haupia-filled mochi.
And yes, there surely will be a next time. These interesting mochi treats, moving beyond traditional Japanese flavors and injecting Hawaiian tastes for a wider audience, will keep me coming back for more.
Made in Hawaii Foods, 2071-A S. Beretania St., Honolulu. PH: 808.947.9022. www.madeinhawaiifoods.com
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