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Mochi Ice Cream Balls

I tried some chocolate mochi ice cream at Mikawaya ice cream shop in L.A.'s Japantown. The frozen dessert balls are wrapped in glutinous sweet rice -- they taste like ice cream wrapped in chewing gum until the wrapper starts to melt in your mouth. It's a curious taste sensation, but the real news is that Mochi ice cream is a finger food. You can hold the balls of ice cream in your hand and bite them.

Mikawaya has several stores in L.A. The company invented mochi ice cream in 1994. It is modeled on a similar Japanese confection called Yukimi Daifuku. The original version was made by a Japanese company called Lotte in 1981 and used ice milk instead of real ice cream.

Americans are much pickier about their ice cream than the Japanese, so Mikawaya tried to improve the dairy product. At the Mikawaya shop in Japantown, they also sell mochi gelato in several flavors. I had mochi ice cream at a Houston sushi restaurant once; unfortunately, the place is no longer in business.

Anybody else selling mochi ice cream in Houston?

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