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Apr 10, 2007 04:16 PM

Black Sesame Ice Cream from Maeda-en at Green Tea Terrace, Westwood

This past weekend we wandered into Green Tea Terrace (on Westwood Blvd. in Westwood Village) expecting to have mochi ice cream balls. We all ended up ordering dishes of very nice looking Japanese-style ice cream in the usual flavors (mango, green tea, red bean) but the hit of the evening was their (relatively) new Black Sesame ice cream. The search for goma ice cream on this board has been going on for a long time, for example:

These threads frequently begin something like, "Wow, we had the black sesame ice cream for dessert at Kiriko on Sawtelle last night, it was fantastic, where else can we find this where it isn't served up in teeny-weeny scoops for an arm and a leg?" Unfortunately, no reliable source has been established, except for some reports of a Sweety Brand mochi ice cream sometimes found on sale at 99 Ranch Markets.

Well, now the westside apparently has another source. It turns out that this is a (relatively) new product of the Maeda-en Company, which is co-owner of Green Tea Terrace and a big distributor of tea and other products. It wasn't up to the superb standard of Kiriko's awesome goma ice cream, but it was very good, and a damn sight cheaper (less than $2 for a fairly large scoop). So far, it appears that Maeda-en sells the sesame ice cream only in 1.5g "food service size" containers, evidently designed for use in ice cream shops, but they don't have sesame mochi or smaller-size cartons, although I guess you could get them to hand-scoop a container.

More on this at , and a nice flyer at which reports that black sesame is "Said to 1, Lower cholesterol, 2, Prevent high blood pressure, Good source of calcium, magnesium and iron." (As a lawyer I like that use of "Said to". ) I dunno about the health claims but this is a nice ice cream, and maybe we'll be seeing more of it in other ice cream or boba shops.

The counterman at Green Tea Terrace warned us that they have been running out a lot, however, so be duly advised.

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  1. WHOOO!! HOO!! I love Black Sesame anything and had Black Sesame Ice Cream at Polly Anns in SF. I'm so happy to hearn of a great local source! Thanks! :D

    15 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      Dommy, since you like black sesame, have you ever bought those finger-thick, black sesame sticks snacks at 99 Ranch (or any other asian market)? They come in clear plastic containers. There are also other flavors, like pistachio, walnut, pecan, almond, etc..but i LOVE the black sesame ones. It's pretty sweet; I think they use honey perhaps to help the sticks stay in that form.

      1. re: chica

        I try to watch what I eat, so no, but I have seen them! :D Right now my favorite sesame desserts are those little sesame pudding/jello cubes at Pheonix Food Boutique...


        1. re: Dommy

          Oh yes - I usually get the variety pack, but my favorite is always the black sesame one - always saved for last...

          Almost forgot - I don't know if it's available here but in Japan, black sesame paste is sold in jars, and is used alot like peanut butter is over here. Keep an eye out for it... sesame's nutritional benefits are many...

        2. re: chica

          Also, Mrs. May's dry roasted black sesame snack, at Rainbow Acres (health food store) in Marina del Rey. (Carson-based manufacturer.)

          1. re: Cinnamon

            Yes, I have O-D'd on these snacks! They are plentiful in the Korean markets. I have seen them elsewhere as well...maybe Gelson's???

            1. re: liu

              They're plentiful at Whole Foods, too. I may have started seeing them at my local chain markets..

        3. re: Dommy

          Dommy, 168 Market on Valley in Alhambra has frozen rice balls (fingernail size) filled with black sesame goo (yes, a real word in the dictionary!). To prepare, you only need boil them for a couple of minutes, and they are pretty delicious!

          I, too, am pretty jazzed by the find (thanks, PayOrPlay!) of black sesame ice cream at Green Tea Terrace. So, besides their green tea latte with soy milk, I have yet another reason to go there!

          1. re: liu

            OMG! I had those at a restaurant recently! The one with the fresh toasted Bao (P. will chime in with the real name I'm sure...) They were TASTY! :D


            1. re: Dommy

              Don't know if you've tried ozenzai - Japanese sweet red bean soup - it's a dessert. Most of the time, it is served with mochi or mochi balls. The Chinese counterpart of this is pinyin or hong tao tong. Oftentimes, the Chinese version is cooked with dried tangerine or orange peel. This often is served with those mochi balls with the black sesame paste in it. These are naturals to have with those black sesame stuffed mochi balls. Most chinese markets stock the mochi balls in the frozen section. It truly hits the spot on a cold night...

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Ozenzai, Japanese sweet red bean soup -- where do I find this?
                I do frequent many of the Asian markets, but what do I look for? Is it in a can? Is there a brand that I might prefer?
                And also, bulavinaka, tell me about the Chinese version. Is that available in the Chinese markets? How do I serve that?

                1. re: liu

                  I don't normally get it in a can, although I am sure it is available that way- it's very easy to make. In Japan, you can get it in a dry form (I think it's freeze-dried) as well - comes in little packets that you just place in a bowl and add hot water. Probably available at the usual Japanese markets...

                  I've had the Chinese version at dim sum somewhere - can't remember. I think Phoenix Food Boutique serves at least a couple of variations of this. They have tons of dessert soups there. The location I am familiar with is in Arcadia next to Din Tai Fung...

                  I'd bet that if you look for it at 99 Ranch, you'd be able to find it there as well in various forms.

                  Both versions are relatively easy to make. Basically it's just water, sugar (you can monkey with the type of sugar - white, brown, palm, rock, etc. - makes a difference in the final flavor), red beans, and whatever you decide to add to it after the beans are cooked. Plain old cane sugar is a good starting point. Mochi, anko mochi, the Chinese mochi balls with black sesame, lotus paste, peanut, etc., even lotus seeds. The dried peel of tangerine or orange is a nice touch as it does compliment the earthy taste of the cooked red beans. But I would try it first without.

                  I prefer this served very warm - not piping hot. If it's too hot, then the stuffed mochis fall apart, and the plain mochi starts to disintigrate and the mochi that remains intact retains the heat, sticks to your tongue and burns you like napalm!

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    I have purchased a red bean chunky mixture in a foil pack (pink, as I remember, but there were other flavors as well). This needed nothing mixed to it. It was almost like a fruit cocktail. I don't think this is what you are referring to, however.

                    1. re: liu

                      You're right - that's not it. That is usually served cold in the summertime... the name slips my memory... If you go to Marukai, Mitsuwa, or Nijiya, you can ask them if they either have instant or canned ozenzai, but again, it's really easy to make yourself. If you've prepared beans from the dry form before, then you can do this...

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        I've seen the red bean soup from time to time in boba places--for example, Relaxtation used to have it (but this is very old info, I guess that place doesn't exist anywhere anymore)--and also in the sorts of SGV places that sell Chinese slush. Sorry I can't be more specific, but it's worth looking out for on chillier days.

                        1. re: PayOrPlay

                          Thanks! I love any excuse to order a green tea slush...or maybe cantaloupe or fresh watermelon...

        4. I'm responding from memory, but I remember quite a few Maeda-en ice creams in the freezer at Nijiya Market on Sawtelle. Does anyone know if black sesame is in there? I will certainly check next time I am wandering Sawtelle!

          1 Reply
          1. re: liu

            I don't think so since it's a new flavor. The best sesame ice-cream I had in LA is from Yakitoria on Sawtelle. The chef there would come up with different flavors of home-made ice-cream depending on what is in season. Besides the black sesame seed one, they also have white sesame seed ice-cream. If you go there around Dec or Jan, they have truffle (not chocolate) ice-cream which sounds really weird but is amazing. Chestnut is also very good (only served in winter). The problem is you have to call ahead and ask which kind they have and they disappear fast (only 20 scoops each batch). Milk tea is their standard one but it's not outstanding.

            I've been craving for black sesame ice-cream and Kiriko is not open until the 18th so I'm so happy to hear the news. Thanks, PayOr Play!

          2. great post. ill go tonight after the west of rome art event!

            1. For lovers of green tea slush, mango, and combinations of 'exotic' fruits with red/grean bean ice cream, in hot or cold drinks...I suggest Bin Bin Konjac. There's one in Arcadia, next to Sin Ba La, and another in Walnut and the OC.

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