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Review: Mochiko Mochi Pizza explores fusion flavors

The delicate allure of Asian flavors that intertwine with the comforting familiarity of European cuisine at Mochiko Mochi Pizza is like no other, wrapped up in the unexpected delight of mochi pizza.

That said, while the concept shows promise, the restaurant faces a unique challenge in achieving a perfect crust and needs to refine its methods. Implementing these changes for the fusion cuisine could turn the pizzas from occasionally flawed to extraordinary.

Mochiko Mochi Pizza brought Asian-styled pizzas to Palo Alto in March with its soft launch at 448 University Ave., sharing the same storefront as Sushirrito.

Its simple exterior doesn’t clearly indicate that the restaurant offers mochi-styled pizzas, with only an easel sign advertising the newly featured dishes.

The combo of Pepperoni pizza (left) and Soy-Braised Beef Pizza ($20 large, $15 medium) is reinvented with mochi dough, topped with fresh garlic chives. Mochiko Mochi Pizza’s original pizza with soy-braised beef (right) is a Korean style pizza with topped with mozzarella cheese, corn, roasted garlic kimchi sauce and cilantro. (Allison Ma)

Inside the restaurant, the establishment is clean-cut. From wooden benches along the wall, to blue lamps draped from the ceiling, the decorations create a cozy environment. The quaint shop presents a modern sign of its logo, minimalist designs of sushi rolls with bold colors that hang on the walls.

According to Peter Yen and Ty Mahler, co-creators of the restaurant, Mochiko is currently working to release new pizzas with different toppings in the near future.

“We continue to work on new flavors and products such as our rendition of the Hawaiian pizza, crab, shrimp and more, as well as some other products,” Yen said. “We’re eager to share more soon.”

Yen said the original idea for mochi dough incorporated into pizzas was inspired by Mahler and Yen’s fondness for mochi and became possible after many trials and errors.

“Since both of our families really like mochi products, we thought it would be interesting if we could make a savory mochi crust,” Yen said. “Over the two years and many, many iterations of testing, we were able to pull it together and launch Mochiko.”

We ordered two medium combos, where the restaurant offers a selection of two or three of its signature mochi pizzas. For one of the pies, we requested half Chicken Curry and half Spicy Pork. For the other we got half Pepperoni and half Soy-Braised Beef — the most recent creation.

There was a reasonable wait time of 20 minutes. For a dine-in experience, everything was self-service — the restaurant only provided plastic utensils, water cups and napkins. The nutty aroma of melted cheese enticed us to try each of the creations and here is what we found.

The combo of Curry Chicken Pizza (left) and Spicy Pork Pizza ($20 large, $15 medium) is topped with fried chicken karaage, corn, jalapeño, with Japanese curry spread on top, while a romano cream sauce coats the spicy pork pizza (right). (Allison Ma)

Chicken Curry ($18 large, $13 medium)

We found this pizza to be our favorite and the chewy-yet-crispy mochi crust served as the base for this fusion of flavors. The creamy Japanese curry was full of spices while the fresh corn and jalapeño added a refreshing touch of sweet and spicy. To complete the dish, there was an ample amount of chicken, cooked perfectly, with fresh melted mozzarella. One note of concern, the crust wasn’t perfectly cooked and the interior stuck to the roofs of our mouths.

Spicy Pork ($18 large, $13 medium)

We found the Spicy Pork Pizza to be subpar. The mochi crust was mostly undercooked in the middle yet burnt on the bottom, resulting in an odd charred-yet-gummy taste. There was barely any pork and it was not spicy at all. The “romano cheese sauce” was pungent and off-putting and isn’t for those opposed by the strong scent of the cheese. Lastly, it was topped with sesame spinach, consisting of wilted oily leaves that didn’t contribute positively to the overall taste. 

Pepperoni ($18 large, $13 medium)

This pizza was baked nicely, with a slight crisp in the crust. The smooth tomato sauce was abundant with Italian herbs. There was a plentiful amount of crisp pepperoni and the cured meat added a smoky flavor to the dish, complemented by the melty dollops of fresh mozzarella. It was garnished with freshly chopped green onion, completing the delightful slice.

Soy-Braised Beef ($18 large, $13 medium)

This pizza was undercooked, resulting in a sticky, gummy crust; however, the sweet Korean barbecue sauce complemented the tangy roasted garlic kimchi. Just like the other slices, it was covered with creamy mozzarella cheese that stretched with each bite. It was topped with sprigs of cilantro, completing the slice.

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About the Contributors
Allison Ma
Allison Ma, Culture Editor
Allison Ma (Class of 2026) joined The Paly Voice her sophomore year and enjoys running, baking and watching TV shows.
Veronica Qiu
Veronica Qiu, News Editor, Webmaster
Veronica Qiu (Class of 2026) joined The Voice in her sophomore year. Outside of journalism she enjoys crocheting and listening to K-pop.

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