If you love sweets as much as I do, you’re in for a serious treat. You may or may not know this, but Robby and I did the social media marketing (as NOM Digital) for the REDEYE a few months back. Rice Culture was one of the many amazing vendors that agreed to join us for said event.
Whether you’re based in the area or not, you can get in on this nomtastic action by ordering their treats online. They’re known for their taiyaki, but they also offer butter mochi, rice pudding and more. So much more. Before I get into recommendations though, let’s talk a bit with the founders.
Have you (Mikki) and Kevin always worked in the food industry?
Aside from part-time jobs during high school/college like waiting on tables or working in ice cream shops, nope! Prior to opening Rice Culture, Kevin was working as a personal trainer where he became really passionate about fitness and helping others meet their fitness goal.
Things like helping his clients hit a deadlift PR or increasing mobility enough to put on socks / tie their shoe. He loves these little wins and I’m lucky to have him as a partner who reminds me daily to keep my body healthy.
I come from an IT background and actually moved from NJ to VA for a job. It’s what brought me here but the reason I stayed was for Kevin and now Rice Culture. From the start of our relationship, we’ve always had a strong burning desire to create something we can call ours. Although we were passionate about our careers, we always had an itch that we should be doing so much more!
Amidst the pandemic and new found time to work on new hobbies like baking and cooking; Kevin and I ordered a Taiyaki machine in an attempt to recreate a dessert that I loved eating growing and enjoyed frequently when I lived in NJ! Taiyakis!
Taiyakis are a popular winter street food originating from Japan but also known as beonggapong in Korea. Being part Japanese, serving Taiyakis are very near and dear to my heart and allows me to represent my roots and pride. Being the only Taiyaki shops in VA was def a plus!
Since opening, Kevin and are constantly creating new flavors that pay homage to Kevin’s Taiwanese background and my Filipino/Japanese background. We’ve even expanded our menu to Asian inspired Rice Puddings, Filipino desserts, and Mochi Muffs!
What inspired you to start your own business?
Kevin and I always had a burning desire to start our own business while doing something we love. We’ve very business minded people and always had an entrepreneurial mindset. We always found ourselves saying, “wow that’s a great business idea!” And we knew we had the work ethics and discipline to run our own business. It was just a matter of WHAT.
Naturally, we were gravitated towards food because it’s what brought us the most joy! Our favorite time of our day is dinner time. You can’t beat the feeling of winding down from a busy work day, cooking a delicious dinner together, and getting cozy over a show on Netflix.
What are your top 3 bestsellers? And your favorite flavors?
Definitely Ube Jam Taiyaki, Red Bean Taiyaki, Buko Pandan. Mine is Nutty De Leche Taiyaki and Kevin’s is Black Sesame Custard.
Where can NOM readers find your eats?
You can order pickup in Chantilly, VA or catch us at One Loudoun farmers market every Saturday 9am-1pm. We also offer select items for U.S Nationwide Shipping @ www.riceculture.com.
Will you be opening a shop in the future?
We plan on opening a shop hopefully within the next three years if Rice culture outgrows our current commercial kitchen space and we’ve raised enough capital to do so.
Where do you like to indulge your sweet tooth?
I’m a sucker for matcha ice cream so I regularly go to Matcha Cafe Maiko in Centreville, VA. Kevin does not have a major sweet tooth believe it or not, but I do share my dessert with him! So he’ll typically have what I’m having.
A huge thanks to Mikki for sitting down with me (virtually) and taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re unfamiliar with their desserts, head to their website to get your browse on. They have a ton of delicious flavors available, and they R&D often so there are almost always something new and exciting to try.
My personal favorites though? Their mochi muffs. There are currently 3 flavors available, and they’re all delicious: original, ube and pandan. The texture’s so beautiful, and I love that they’re not overly sweet!
I haven’t had a chance to try their rice pudding yet, but it’s cool to see a vegan option listed. Alright Nomsters, I hope you enjoyed learning more about Rice Culture on our latest. If you’re looking to treat yourself, make sure you sign up for their email newsletter to get 15% off your next order.
For more on delicious eats in the DMV area, click on the respective tabs and stay tuned for more content coming your way: Virginia, DC, Maryland. Until next time, friends! Eat all the delicious things.