I’m a big fan of food, a self proclaimed “foodie” even. I find joy and love in eating, but there’s also a real sentimental value to me. I link memories with food, and I thought it might be weird and fun to explore that idea with everyone. This is about chocolate mochi, a popular Japanese rice cake filled with chocolate ganache.
My first boyfriend Kai and I met at my local comic store in my home town, and for our first date we travelled to the closest city which had a YoSushi store, the only sushi place within a 50 mile radius of us back then.
It was an interesting first date, because we weren’t really at a stage where we called it a date. It was our first time meeting up and hanging out properly outside of the comic book store, other than when we hung out together on his lunch breaks.
Kai had asked me if I liked sushi, and I mentioned that I did, but didn’t have much experience of it. He then told me about YoSushi, a revolving sushi place at the top of a department store in the city next to us. He casually invited me out to try it, and much later in our relationship revealed that he was actually really nervous about it.
A 20 minute train ride and a little walk where we got lost finding the department store we finally made it to the sushi place. I remember being dazzled and thinking how glamorous it all looked, brightly lit with fish and rice going round and round on brightly coloured plates.
I’ll admit, when I saw the prices I became really nervous. This was very different to McDonalds or Subway which was the height of eating out for me back then. I was probably nervous for a lot of reasons, and I think Kai was too. Looking back, I think anyone who saw us would have clocked onto the situation. There’s something sweet about the clumsy innocence.
The sushi was great. YoSushi I find is a fantastic introduction to sushi for the western palate. I know a lot of sushi fans who would turn pale at the thought of that, and granted there’s not that many raw fish items (almost exclusively tuna or salmon) and it’s not the highest of quality (there’s no o-toro) but what they do have is a menu that is different enough to be exotic, and similarly enough that people aren’t too scared to try.
They have a lot of dishes that you know people will love, like katsu curry, and I think it encourages people to venture out into Japanese food if they haven’t before. Remember that this was the only sushi place really available around that part of England at the time, and it was a new trend that hadn’t left cosmopolitan London yet.
The date was fun, we talked and we tried out new dishes we hadn’t before, and there is always something fun about picking something up from a conveyer belt. It adds atmosphere I think. The last dish Kai picked up was an orange plate with chocolate mochi on it.
I had never seen mochi before, although I’ve eaten rice cakes in Vietnam. It didn’t look particularly fancy or impressive. Kai however beamed this great big smile at me, knowing for sure that this was the one dish everyone would like. It was insanely sweet how he had planned that we would eat this, knowing that if I hadn’t liked any of the other dishes, at the very least I would like this one.
It was delicious. It was soft and chewy and decently rich with chocolate. There’s nothing not to like. The strawberry that was on the plate gave a nibble of tartness to counter the chocolate and we both beamed chocolatey smiles at each other. It was at that moment that I really thought “this date’s a success” and it was probably the moment both of us were completely comfortable. The nervousness of earlier had gone. There was going to be a second date.
Now, when I go to YoSushi, I go for convenience because it’s fast and the menu is predictable, and on Mondays it’s relatively cheap. I also go because I just can’t help myself grabbing that plate with the chocolate mochi, and remembering that yes, this is the one dish that I was always going to like.