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Living up to the hype

| Monday, April 4, 2016

Every other day, there’s something new. Of course, that statement isn’t something new. But what about a watery cake blob that someone took the time to create and perfect? This dessert is a combination of mineral water and agar, which is basically a form of gelatin. The dessert is completely clear and dome-shaped — it looks like a water droplet that grew to 25 times its original size.

First seeing this on Buzzfeed, I had scrolled past it. Then I saw it on Instagram and, at that point, it occurred to me this might be something worth finding out more about. This dessert seems to be the reverse of broccoli, in that broccoli often is seen as being miniature trees, while this is like a gigantic water droplet. It’s not immediately breakable — you actually have to push and poke into it with a spoon to get this dessert to come apart — but when it does come apart, it doesn’t just shatter and run everywhere, like water might; it stays together like Jell-O does.

I don’t even know what the formal name of this dessert is — I guess you could call it a water cake, but places that are selling them are calling them “raindrop cakes.” Like most things, I always wonder how they originally came to be. It seems as if this dessert was made to offer people an almost zero-calorie, slightly-confusing option as a treat. You can put roasted soybean flour on it or brown sugar, but the dessert itself is just a watery, transparent, Jell-O textured treat.

The best part about this dessert seems to be the reactions of people whom waited in line to get them. Scrolling through Instagram reviews of this dessert, people compared them to breast implants or to water, because that’s what it basically is — water. This dessert is literally exactly what you think it would be, if not slightly more disappointing.

With summer quickly approaching, the return of food festivals and farmers markets is also approaching. With the return of delicious food and experimental successes, there are bound to be more than a few over-priced food fads that are, unfortunately, a let down. It makes me wonder if there is a specific formula to having a successful food that might not live up to all of the hype. Is that all food festivals are — a collection of mediocre food that isn’t worth the wait, but is definitely worth the Instagram? Probably not, but this “raindrop cake” dessert definitely does not set up an impressive start to the food festival summer line-up. I guess it’s a good thing the summer is more than just the month of April, giving more time for many more delicious food fads to arise.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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