This past weekend was the first incarnation of the Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn Smorgasburg, an alternative (hipster) foodie destination of what’s new, cool, and weird in edible items.
My friend Kevin attended and highlighted some of his favorite items including a curious and fascinating item he called “raindrop cake.” The translucent blob looked fluid yet solid and intrigued in that it was somehow cake…or was it? I had to know more about this creature and if it would be a delicious snack.
After a quick Googling, a few things come up. First, he didn’t make up the name: Raindrop Cake is a brand. The item is a Smorgasburg native and was essentially designed for buzz, which is how it was received at its LA debut. As POPSUGAR reports, the dish comes from Darren Wong Raindrop Cake and is inspired by a traditional Japanese dish Mizu Shingen Mochi. That’s cool.
But what is Raindrop Cake? Should you try it? It looks very watery—but does it live up to its “raindrop name”? Yes, because it’s actually just solid water: the “raindrop” is the combination of mineral water and agar, a vegan gelatin from seaweed. It jiggles and is perfect for a shareable ogle but lacks much in the taste department.
While I have not tried it, reading the reviews have been less than enticing: POPSUGAR referred to it as “a silicone breast implant” that wasn’t “tasty enough to leave me wanting more”; LAist praised its “pleasing texture” but admitted it tastes “sort of like nothing at all”; Buzzfeed had a confusing review, saying “it wasn’t the most delicious thing I’ve ever tried, but it was among the coolest”; Huffington Post made the obvious cronut comparison without any taste profiling; and Slate reiterated what everyone said: it tastes like a raindrop and is hard—But cool!—to photograph.
So what does this all mean? Well, in addition to mineral water and agar, the desert is a wonderful composition of hype and hype with a side of hype, hype, and hype with sprinklings of buzz and chatter. It’s perfect for impressing your friends on Instagram but barely food. Outside of the initial “What is that oddity??,” the consensus seems to evaporate after that.
If you are a needy Instagram person and a one man hype machine, this is your next “It” desert. Finish that cronut comparison, throw away those turducken bones, and make room in your heart, soul, and phone for eight dollars worth of jiggly water: this has your needy name written all over it since Raindrop Cake was the first food designed specifically for Likes.