Trader Joe’s mochi coconut “ice cream,” and how traditional mochi can kill you

This is a pretty great product, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. The coconut filling is creamy enough that it could be mistaken for regular ice cream, only your GI tract isn’t at the mercy of a bottle of lactase. (You get 2 of each flavor in a perfectly pre-portioned mochi wrapper.) The mango was my favorite, followed by the dark chocolate.

Speaking of which, I have never, ever understood the popularity of mochi, which is a Japanese sticky rice cake widely found throughout East Asia. It’s like chewing on a super dense, unsweet marshmallow dusted with flour. My jaw tires just thinking about it. Sometimes there’s a sweet bean paste center or some other filling, which makes it marginally more appealing.

You may have seen small mochi bits in the toppings bar at your Red Mango or Pinkberry. Mochi is a New Year’s tradition in Japan, and every year a few people–usually the elderly–choke to death on it. Which results in another (rather morbid) Japanese New Year tradition: reporting the mochi death toll.

Luckily the mochi in this product isn’t your typical mochi, but a more gelatinous and rubbery shell that’s easy to chew. For me it was just a layer standing in the way of the coconut creaminess underneath. But at least it’s a lot more palatable than the kind of mochi that doubles as a Darwinian device.

10 Responses to “Trader Joe’s mochi coconut “ice cream,” and how traditional mochi can kill you”

  1. 1 Christie
    December 30, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I LOVED these! I’m dairy and gluten intolerant so it’s hard to find a desert that tastes good and doesn’t cause digestive upset. These are fantastic and don’t taste like a substitute product for ice cream. Unfortunately, I can’t find them anymore. TJ’s says they’re a seasonal item. Has anybody seen them or something like them elsewhere?

  2. 2 MINA
    January 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    These are awful precisely because the mochi is NOT right! Mochi should be chewy. These TJ’s non-dairy ones are made of a Tapioca “mochi” so they’re not chewy. they’re like rubber…sort of a crumbly rubber…just…blah! They ruin the yummy coconut ice cream inside.

  3. 3 frickshun
    February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I tried the mango last night & LOVED IT. I’ve never had mochi before but as a 1st experience, it was great. I don’t eat ice cream often either. But as an alternative, these are the perfect treat.

  4. 4 SarahGrace
    February 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Yes, it is true that the mochi is a little off in terms of texture, but, but, but, they are still delicious! I crave them like crazy! Being gluten and dairy free, these are such a treat.

  5. 5 Darlena
    February 28, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I just found them in the Fremont, California store…. don’t know where you are…
    I think they are an incredible idea. I will admit, I like the center better than the mochi part….maybe they will take a hint and package up the coconut heaven inside all by itself…
    Great for us who do not eat dairy and gluten though!!!

  6. 6 Yape
    March 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    TJ’s in NW Chicago burbs has them currently. Of all the deserts out there, ice cream is my least favorite, and I really enjoy these. I like the coconut/coconut (white) ones, followed by the mango. Even not being a fan of choc. ice cream, I find these pretty good…

  7. 9 CoconutMochiKing
    May 2, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Frankly, since TJ’s is the master at rebranding products, we can presume that this item exists somewhere else. I’ve searched high and wide for it under another name, but had no luck. I wish that if TJ’s decides to really get rid of something that they should throw us a bone and let us know where we can get a “similar product.” But, alas, I doubt they’d ever do this.

    • 10 Darlena
      May 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Trader Joe’s told me that the mochi coconut ice cream was a seasonal item and available during Chinese New Year. That is when I bought mine too!

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