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Fish-shaped waffle shop Rice Culture now open at Dunn Loring Metro station

The taiyaki and ice cream shop Rice Culture is open near the Dunn Loring Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Rice Culture is now serving taiyakis and ice cream just outside the Dunn Loring Metro station.

The pop-up bakery, a regular at several D.C. area farmers’ markets, kicked off the soft opening phase of its first brick-and-mortar shop last week on Nov. 30. Its location in the Shops at Avenir Place (2672D Avenir Place) had been vacant since Bruster’s Real Ice Cream closed in 2020.

“Come through and bring a friend,” Rice Culture said in an Instagram post announcing the opening. “We want to extend our thanks ahead of time for everyone’s patience as we get adjusted to our new space and find our footing.”

Founder MikkiJo Bayawa started Rice Culture in January 2021 with her fiancé Kevin Tsai after getting delivery requests for her homemade taiyakis, a Japanese waffle snack that’s shaped like a fish and stuffed with sweet fillings.

The business quickly gained traction and moved production to Frontier Kitchen in Chantilly, Bayawa previously told FFXnow. It has appeared at the Mosaic District’s weekly FreshFarm market and The Block in Annandale, among other locations across the D.C. region.

With its new, permanent space, Rice Culture has expanded its menu to include soft-serve ice cream, which can be purchased by itself in a cup or with a taiyaki on top. The ice cream flavors — ube, black sesame, corn and pandan — can be swirled, and toppings are available.

Inspired by Bawaya’s Japanese and Filipino heritage, taiyakis can be filled with ube, pandan, nutella, Oreo, or corn and cheese, along with the traditional flavors of traditional red bean paste and vanilla custard. They come in single, three-pack and six-pack orders.

Bayawa says a grand opening will be held in January, but an exact date is still being determined.

For now, the shop is operating during limited hours of 4-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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