Grocery Packaged Food

Trader Joe’s Adds New Savory Kung Pao Chicken Mochi Balls

Photo: Constantine Spyrou

Looks like Trader Joe’s is adding more savory options to their frozen mochi selection, as their newest item is definitely prepped to turn some heads. Trader Joe’s has just released a new Kung Pao Chicken Mochi Ball snack to their frozen food section.

The Kung Pao Mochi Balls are approximately the size of a golf ball and, when baked, has a crisp brown exterior. That exterior is followed by a soft chewy mochi texture that leads into the final level of a sweet and spicy chicken and veggie core.

Trader Joe’s says that they were inspired to make this new item after trying a savory mochi appetizer at an udon bar on a trip to Tokyo.

You can find these new frozen appetizers at Trader Joe’s locations nationwide in the freezer section of the store. I wonder how these will taste with TJ’s Chili Onion Crunch?

Restaurants Sweets

Instagram-Famous ‘Mochi Muffins’ Shipping Nationwide For The First Time Ever

If you’re from or have been to the San Francisco Bay Area recently, you know that the hot sweet treat around there is the Mochi Muffin. Third Culture Bakery, the shop behind the viral and widespread treat, is now making their signature food available for purchase nationwide for the first time ever.

Owners Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu have been growing the Third Culture Bakery brand, with a new bakeshop having opened a few weeks back in Colorado. With the coronavirus pandemic drastically affecting everyone, however, the company decided to expand their Mochi Muffin offering to nationwide masses yearning to get a taste.

As of press time, Third Culture is only selling their Original Mochi Muffin nationwide, rather than branching out into the other flavors they make for shipping just yet. Shyu told Foodbeast that their other flavors of the mochi muffins will be available for national delivery later this week. Folks who live within UberEats ranges for their Bay Area and Denver also have access to the showrooms’ full online menus.

The Original Mochi Muffins are sweet while nutty, with a base of rice flour and ingredients like sesame and pandan that add to their aroma. They’re also incredibly squishy, and might be the closest to an edible stress ball we’ll ever get to.

You can now find these Mochi Muffins for sale on Third Culture’s website in packs of either 6 or 12, alongside other items like Uji Ceremonial Matcha, rice flour totes, and other apparel. Shyu told Foodbeast that they’ve already shipped to 16 states so far.

Photos courtesy of Third Culture Bakery.

Food Trends Restaurants Sweets

Bay Area Eatery Has Created ‘Mochi Muffins’ And My Body Is Ready

If you live outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, chances are, you haven’t heard about mochi muffins before. Their striking textural contrasts, unique blend of flavors, and stunning visual appeal made these veritable dessert stress balls a NorCal favorite since they debuted in 2015. For the past couple of years, those outside of the Bay Area have been missing out on one of the most enticing and in-feed worthy treats out there.

mochi muffinsPhoto: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

The mochi muffin is the signature item of Third Culture Bakery, which had been running inside of a Berkeley coffee shop before getting their own space this past June. Helmed by Sam Burtarburtar and Wenter Shyu, the bakery is now cranking out 10,000 of these squishy treats a week on top of everything else they sell.

Burtarburtar is the wizard behind the mochi muffin. He created it back in 2015 while running his own French-inspired spot, Sam’s Patisserie, when customers began asking for a gluten-free option.

“There’s no gluten-free stuff in French baking,” Shyu explained, “so when Sam got asked to make some, he decided to go with something from his Indonesian culture. So he experimented with rice flour and started baking with it, and then mixed butter into it, and that’s how he came up with the mochi muffin idea.”

Shyu and Burtarburtar then teamed up around April of 2017 to begin wholesale production inside of the aforementioned coffee shop, and operations scaled rapidly as the mochi muffins began to become the Bay Area’s newest dessert craze.

The mochi muffin sounds like a sugar-laden treat, but is actually a unique blend of sweet and nutty that transcends the flavor notes of a typical pastry. That aromatic combination comes from a variety of ingredients, including Indonesian coconut sugar, pandan (a fragrant Southeast Asian plant used to flavor drinks and desserts), and a blend of both white and black sesame. The inside of the muffin has the chewiness you associate with standard mochi, but the outside has a thick and crispy exterior, creating a textural contrast that plays with your mind and palate with each bite.

Burtarburtar and Shyu haven’t stopped with just the mochi muffin, however. They have a host of other creations you can try as well, including custard cakes. These look like a trademark muffin, but are made with a custard base rather than rice flour so that they’re almost like mini crustless sweet quiches. Flavors of the custard cakes that Third Culture has include ube, matcha, and churro.

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

Outside of that, Third Culture’s team is working on new items as they gain popularity around the Bay Area. Mochi donuts, a variety of lychee and matcha-based drinks, and mochi waffles have been added to the menu. On the weekends, they also host brunches, where the mochi muffins may get turned into a special “bread pudding” based on a recipe from one of their superfans.

Burtarburtar’s creation is exceptional in terms of both sensory and visual appeal. And yet, you’d be hard-pressed to find people talking about it outside of the Bay Area. It’s stayed the talk of the local news outside of a couple of brief aside mentions in listicles from Bon Appetit and Thrillist.

That’s likely not going to be the case anymore, as Shyu is looking to expand distribution of the mochi muffin to bring it outside of the Bay Area. e-commerce will hopefully be an option for Third Culture by early 2019, so these IG-worthy flavor bombs could be headed your way soon.

Grocery News Sweets

Major Grocers Are Now Adding Self-Serve Mochi Ice Cream Bars To Select Stores

Earlier this year, Whole Foods made waves when it began incorporating self-serve mochi ice cream bars into some of its stores across the country. The thought of grab-and-go handheld ice cream was extremely appealing to customers, and the Amazon-owned grocer’s rivals took notice. Now, several of them are beginning to incorporate their own self-serve mochi ice cream bars as well.

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream heaven 😍

A post shared by My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream (@mymomochiicecream) on

The self-serve stations are being operated by My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, who was already producing the treats for stores. Companies like Albertson’s, Wegmans, Pavilions, and even Kroger are implementing the on-the-go ice cream for customers to get experiences similar to that of Whole Foods. You can simply select the number you want out of the freezer, which contains multiple flavors of mochi ice cream, and then purchase them on your way out.

Currently, the My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream stations are only available in select stores, but you can use this locator to find one near you. Hopefully, as this trend of portable mochi ice cream persists, more stores at both Whole Foods and its competitors will begin implementing these self-serve mochi ice cream stations.

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Whole Foods Has An EPIC New Self-Serve Mochi Bar

I hope you’re sitting down while reading this, just so you can immediately get back up and rush out to Whole Foods.

If they don’t have one already, your local Whole Foods Market may be getting a self-serve mochi ice cream station soon. We went to investigate, and yep, it was as satisfying as we imagined it would be.

If you aren’t familiar with mochi, it is a traditional Japanese sweet rice cake that can be molded with ice cream, or other fillings to create a bite sized, sweet dessert.

At any given time, Whole Foods will have at least a dozen flavors for you to go absolutely HAM over. This includes the classic vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, green tea, plus an indulgent raspberry white chocolate, sakura, mango, and much much more to drool over.

At this time, there are only a handful of self-serve mochi bars in Southern California, Las Vegas, Wheaton, IL and their flagship store in Austin, Texas.

Priced at $2 per mochi, or $20 for a baker’s dozen, you can take your ice cream obsession as far as you’re willing to go! Just try your hardest not to sample all the flavors and put them back half eaten. Don’t be that guy.


This Is How The World Eats Ice Cream

Aw, summer, the time for barbecues, pool parties and of course ice cream. Whether it be off a truck, out of a freezer, or out of your favorite parlor, ice cream is a summer necessity.

But did you know your favorite frozen treat doesn’t have the same look everywhere? While Americans tend to scoop it into a bowl, or cone other countries have taken wildly different interpretations of the frozen treat we know and love. The treats may look different, taste different and have different ingredients, but at least we can all agree on one thing, we all scream for ice cream.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts put together an infographic showing what ice cream looks like around the world. Check it out below.




Clear, Chewy Dessert Looks Just Like a Drop of Water


We can’t imagine that some Japanese chef thought the world needed to know what eating — not drinking — water felt like, and yet here we are.

Clear, round, and delicate, mizu shingen mochi is a new kind of Japanese rice cake trademarked for its resemblance to a large droplet of water. Like original shingen mochi, the dessert is sweet and simple, usually topped with soybean powder and brown sugar syrup. Unlike shingen mochi, however, the mizu version melts in your mouth, is made using water from the southern Japanese alps, and is so fragile that it will disintegrate only 30 minutes after being placed in room temperature.


Twitter users have described the treat, created by the Kinseiken confectionary company, as “surprising” and “refreshingly cool.” Due to its frailty, however, the water cake can only be enjoyed in-store at one of two Kinseiken shops in Japan. Guess the rest of us will just have to stick to this:

H/T Rocket News


Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip Mochi Ice Cream Finally Available in the U.S.


Last September, we griped about yet another Japanese-exclusive treat we desperately wished we could wrap our tastebuds around: Cookies and Cream ice cream mochi. Well folks, it seems the food industry gods have actually answered our prayers. Grocery store brand Mikawaya has just announced a line-up of five new flavors of mochi ice cream, including Black Sesame, Matcha Green Tea, Plum Wine, Mint Chocolate Chip, and yes, Cookies & *freaking* Cream.

Available in stores like Trader Joe’s and Albertson’s, the Mikawaya line now features 12 flavors of the starchy, sticky Japanese treat, available in packs of six in the freezer section.

“Cookies and Cream, and Mint Chip are two of the top six flavors worldwide,” Mikawaya’s President Joel Friedman said in a press release, “And given the truly authentic traditional Asian nature of Plum Wine, Matcha Green Tea and Black Sesame, we felt they were perfect additions to our lineup.”


The Mikawaya online store doesn’t seem to be updated just yet, but when it is, online customers can also download a coupon for .75 cents off and receive a free Mikawaya mochi t-shirt with purchase.