WHY THE "RAINDROP CAKE" IS OVERHYPED
ALRIGHT EVERYONE! ENOUGH ABOUT THE RAINDROP CAKE!
I'M HERE TO TELL YOU THAT JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING LOOKS COOL DOESN'T MEAN IT WOULD TASTE JUST AS COOL...
HENCE.. THE RAINDROP CAKE!
So I myself always wanted to try the Raindrop cake a.k.a. Shingen Mochi. I've seen it before on television and the internet while studying abroad in Japan. It's a definitely aesthetically pleasing dessert that looks simple and... possibly classy? Especially when plated on top of a freshly picked green leaf and with nice Sakura flowers surrounding it!
I had my chance to try this in Korea at the Myeongdong Street Market. It was only about $5 or so but for some reason I didn't feel compelled to try it. The other street food seemed more enticing so I ended up never trying it.
Until the New York Smorgasburg! I tried this boob implant looking thing at a foodie festival in Brooklyn's Williamsburg and let me tell ya, THE LINE WAS LONG!
But was it worth $8? Hmm...
Well, I already had read up on what the Raindrop Cake actually was. It's made of spring water and with an ingredient called AGAR AGAR. I grew up with AGAR AGAR actually. My childhood consisted of watching my mother make delicious "Asian Jelly" flavored with coffee, pandan, coconut and etc. It was always super yummy and whenever I had my American friends try it, I'd just call it "Asian Jelly". In Vietnamese it's called "Thach".
This Raindrop Cake tasted exactly as that. Like Jelly. I watched a Youtuber make it and said she would be offended if people compared it to jelly. But why? It practically is!
If y'all don't know Agar Agar and live in / near an Asian community, the supermarkets probably sell AGAR AGAR in small little packets. Texture that comes out is pretty much jelly though.
Here is why I am disappointed in the Raindrop Cake and probably glad that I didn't spend even more money to try it in Japan. First of all, although it looks cool, it just tastes like water, literally. The water tastes very pure though so that's good. The only flavors you'll actually taste from this dessert is the sauces and powders that come with it: soybean powder and black sugar syrup.
Raindrop Cake doesn't taste like mochi at all. It doesn't have that chewy texture mochi traditionally has. You know what should be called Raindrop Cake / Shingen Mochi? Warabi Mochi! YES! I love Warabi Mochi and although it also isn't real mochi (mochi is made from rice and warabi mochi is made from starch), the texture sure does seem like it's mochi!
And Warabi Mochi is clear! They usually are served in square shapes. You can find them in traditional Japanese tea houses served with matcha parfaits and other desserts! If they changed the shape to spheres...it could totally be called a "raindrop cake"! And would taste more like mochi too!
（the above photo is taken from http://www.kagizen.co.jp）
This is what the Warabi Mochi looks like before it's coated in kinako / injeolmi / soy powder. It's actually super good and I totally recommend this if you ever get the chance!
( the above photo is taken from http://mogumogublog5511.blog121.fc2.com/blog-entry-738.html)
Basically, if you've never had the raindrop cake don't worry. You're not missing out on much. It just tastes like black sugar syrup + soybean powder anyways. Literally. With a sprinkle of water.
→READ MY PREVIOUS POST ABOUT MY RAINDROP CAKE EXPERIENCE IN NEW YORK HERE: