A walk down St. Marks Place in the East Village never fails to turn up something novel. Lately, Fork in the Road checked out the latest branch of Xi’an Famous Foods and the new Neapolitan pizza joint Totale. Today we tried out a couple of sweets from TKettle — the recently expanded Taiwanese snack shop — and Hanover Cafe, the newly opened Korean cafeteria.
At TKettle, $2.99 buys you four fried mochi balls, filled with your choice of sesame or red bean. The golden orbs sit unassumingly in the to-go box, looking like any old fritters. Spear one up and the thing dangles pendulously, heavy with the glutinous rice and filling. The crisp exterior crunches into stretchy, chewy mochi, which in turn gushes into molten sweet black sesame goop that tastes a bit like peanut butter. The combination of textures is oddly captivating.
Just down the block at Hanover Cafe, they’re advertising shaved ice with all sorts of toppings, like taro and “pudding,” but today only red adzuki beans were available. A machine in the corner rattles, hums, and spits out a heap of freshly ground ice, which is then topped with a host of fruits — kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, mango, pineapple, and so on — a generous pile of the sweet beans, and a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. It may be the most refreshing dessert known to man.
26 St. Marks Place
6 St. Marks Place