Nah, if you haven't guessed it by now, the 12 refers to the number of mochi (mochi? mochis? mochies?) in the box. My only previous experience with mochi have been of the ice cream variety, which are honestly a little bit weird to me. That's not meant in a judgmental way. Wiggily, doughy-skinned ice cream is a little bit of an odd concept for the classic suburban-raised American palette, but it doesn't mean I can't enjoy them. Regardless, these mochi were my first foray into non-desserty mochi (I didn't even know such a thing existed), and though I'll admit my hesitancy, there's a good part of me that was fairly intrigued.
mouthfeel-related term to describe, but man, the first one was a bit much, but I was used to it by the time I ate my sixth and last one.
As far as taste, I'm not impressed or dismayed. They're very much a meh product, for me at least. The filling tasted a lot like the Trader Ming Stir Fried Vegetable Rolls that were fairly disappointing when we gave them a test drive. The mishmash mushrooms with carrots and onions and whatnot was salty, a little soy-saucey, and honestly not that terrific. Important note: there's oyster sauce in the filling, so despite mostly being a fungi, the mochi couldn't help being a little shellfish. Not vegetarian. Not that they taste all that oystery, just mushroomy and oniony.
Sandy, who thinks all mushrooms are really Goombas out to get her, could not be interested any less in trying these, and well, I was not going to plead a toddler to try them, either, so I made them for dinner on a night they both were out, and I shared them with Jack, the Chinese exchange student and mushroom aficionado who lives with us. "Pretty good," he said. "I thought they'd be sweeter, but they're not bad." Not sure how a sweeter taste would work, but, well, different flavor palettes I guess. He gave them a 3.5. I'd be open to giving them another try, but for now at least, I can't go higher than a 2.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's 12 Mushroom Mochi: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons