Who Invented Mochi Ice Cream?

Posted on Mar 8, 2013 in Hiroko's Blog

Almost a week ago I had an opportunity to chat with David Nash, sales manager of Mikawaya, LA, at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show at the Jacob Javit Center in New York City. Last December I had posted mochi ice cream blog, so when I passed by the Mikawaya booth and saw the signboard which claims that Mikawaya invented mochi ice cream in America in large letters, I froze in front of it.

According to David Nash, Mikawaya, as a bakery and confectionery store, was founded by Mr. Hashimoto in 1910 in Los Angeles. During World War II the family was sent to a concentration camp. After the War a great niece of the founder, Frances Hashimoto, purchased the business from her great uncle and resumed the family business. Frances, a devotted business woman and loved by her employees, did not retire until she is 97 years old. She received an award from the Emperor of Japan as an successful Enterprenuer of Japanese Business in America. She died at the age of 101 years old.

Mikawaya came up with mochi ice cream in 1994. Since then, mochi ice cream business has been growing. Today they carry mochi ice cream with 7 flavors – strawberry, chocolate, green tea, vanila, mango, kona coffee and red beans. David claims that their ice cream is a top class one. The company purchases “Manufacturing”cream; they pasturize it, homogenize it and make it into high quality ice cream.

Mikawaya now has additional products. It is Gourmet Ice Cream made in the same quality method. It is HACCP, and certified Kosher and Halal. Their product is weekly tested for Environmental Listeria. They use -25 degree F temperature to store their product. This temperature is a 5 degree lower than the standard practice. Unfortunately all of the mochi ice cream and new Gourmet Ice Cream line for tasting were gone at the time of my visit. Now I know the quality of mochi ice cream (I did not buy it in the past because I did not know how good the product is), so I will stop by at a nearby Trader Joe sometime soon to pick it up.

If you want to try to make your own mochi, please check out the recipe in the December 2012 blog. This method requires microwave oven, which makes the preparation of mochi very easy. Next I will blog about koji and sake production.