Snack Adventures: Mochi and Umeboshi

So far the defining moments of my trip that I remember involve eating or food of some kind. I feel that I have been eating nonstop ever since I have gotten here. Surprisingly, I haven’t had the chance to try too many snacks or desserts while I’ve been here, as most of my eating has consisted of restaurants or my grandmother’s cooking. However, I’ve had the chance to try mochi and umeboshi, two treats that I don’t really get the chance to eat when I’m at home.

The picture on the right is a red bean mochi that we got from a bakery named Yannick in Ximenting, a big shopping district in Taipei. This bakery seems to have very beautiful cakes along with other desserts. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made out of glutinous (chewy) rice and made into a round shape. There is a kind of gooey filling on the inside, and it’s coated with a powder. I’ve had mochi in America, but it’s not as good as this one, though that may be because I’ve only been able to find supermarket mochi. This one is handmade.

The other “snack,” umeboshi, isn’t a snack per se, and can be eaten for lunch with a lot of rice. I did have it as a snack after dinner. It’s also originally from Japan, and is a pickled dried salt plum (or ume). It’s very expensive, and because it’s so sour, it is often eaten with rice for breakfast and lunch. The one on the left was imported.

My grandfather was telling us stories about how this plum was extremely sour and as a result very hard for a lot of people to eat. Yet when he was young, he would eat three of the plums with half of his rice, and his teachers would just shake their heads at his ability to eat the sourness. While he was talking, I finished the entire little plum with a bite of rice very quickly and showed my mother the pit in the bowl. His jaw dropped, and he shook my hand and said that I was truly his granddaughter with his DNA. A proud moment, for sure.

The skin of this particular umeboshi was the sourest part, and it took me the most to get used to. The middle part of the plum was more squishy with a slightly sweeter taste. I thought that overall it was not unpleasant, and liked it a lot.

Here is a picture of the pit:

In addition, here is a picture of the treats at the bakery where we got the red bean mochi:

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