2017 04 08 13.02.35

Benkyodo Co Mochi: One of the original mochi shops in the US, Benkyodo in Japantown, SF opened back in 1906. Today, the storefront is an odd mix of diner counter, Asian 7-11-type snacks, and fresh made mochi. All of their mochi come in cupcake liners and taste very fresh because they are. The texture is softer than I personally prefer, and there is a little too much starch that coats your mouth with each bite. But I did enjoy that they were not overly sweet. The best was certainly a mango mochi that had f... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 mochi benkyodoco dessert sweets japanese sanfrancisco japantown
2017 04 07 20.23.58

Koreana Plaza Market Mochi: Inside the Koreana Plaza Market in Oakland is a small cash-only bakery with a variety of asian sweets, including lotus-paste-filled pastries (review forthcoming), pineapple buns, and almond cookies. I purchased a pack of two red-bean mochi (despite the oven-fresh sticker on the packaging, I'm pretty sure they were steamed). The mochi are about 125% the size of packaged mochi. Biting into a piece, I could instantly tell that it was very fresh. The glutinous rice flour had a bit more resis... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 mochi koreanaplazamarket japanese dessert sweets oakland
2017 04 07 20.15.15

Oorifood Premium Garlic Snack: Since moving to the Bay Area, I've been impressed with how well American grocery stores stock Asian snacks in their ethnic food aisles. Berkeley Bowl in particular has an array of both Japanese and Chinese staples, including dried seafood, shrimp crackers, and multiple varieties of rice crackers (even carrying their own in the bulk section). But one thing that I have missed is Korean snacks, which I had easy access to back in Cambridge, MA since I lived close to an HMart. Luckily, I recent... (read more) 4.0/5.0

4.0 snack garlic premium oorifood longreads puffs korean recommended
2017 04 02 21.51.38

Epic BBQ Seasoning Pork Rinds: With a name like Epic on top of Whole Foods product placement, this brand of artisanal pork rinds (chicharron) is just asking to be put under the microscope. Unsurprisingly, the brand is from Austin, TX, and uses all the popular buzz words like "paleo friendly," "nose to tail," and "antibiotic free." So, is it good? Texturally, it's among the best I've had from a bag, managing to be both light and crunchy - not overly fried and dissolves quickly on the tongue. The smoky BBQ flavor is bol... (read more) 3.5/5.0

3.5 rinds pork seasoning bbq epic chicharron meat porkrinds wholefoods recommended
2017 04 02 21.50.42

Zema Madhouse Sweet Potato Spice Cookies: Crumbly mini cookies flavored with sweet potato, ginger, and cinnamon. Gluten-free, substituting gluten-full ingredients with hemp, chia, and flax meal. Sounds too healthy to be any good? Fear not – the flavors are robust (especially the spicy ginger), and pumpkin seeds lend good and varied texture. As far as crunchy cookies go, Zema's madhouse has struck an admirable balance between good-for-you and good-tasting. 3.5/5.0

wholefoods 3.5 cookies spice potato sweet zemamadhouse glutenfree ginger recommended
2017 04 02 22.01.46

Bare Cinnamon Banana Chips: Containing only bananas and cinnamon, these literally bare banana chips are super crunchy but not dense, giving them a uniquely crisp texture. In the bag, they clink like bingo chips unlike more weighty alternatives like fried banana chips. No added sugar. Cinnamon is an unexpectedly good pairing. Only downside is they get stuck in your teeth. High price per serving (just 3 in the bag), but well worth a try. 3.5/5.0

3.5 chips banana cinnamon bare fruit recommended