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Cool and wacky candy from Japan

Japanese Candy Review: Kit Kat Roundup

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Limited Edition Candy

Japanese Kit Kat selection

I will never again look at some dish made from a weird combination of international cuisines and say “Only in America.” Because now I’ve had Green Tea Tiramisu Kit-Kat from Japan.

I have been watching the Japanese Kit-phenomenon from afar with great interest, since the flavors are often somewhat, well, unexpected, like the pumpkin version reviewed here. Finally through the good graces of our friends at J-List, I’ve had a chance to sample some for myself, in several different sizes and shapes: Tiramisu and Green Tea Tiramisu in delicate little individually wrapped sticks, Azuki bean in a two-stick size bar, and Sakura nuggets.

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Japanese Candy Review: Four Seas Milk Candy

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Soft Candy

Four Seas Milk Candy

Yup, it’s another Japanese candy reviewed by Laurie. With the large number of Asian grocers in my area, as long as Japan keeps cranking ‘em out, I’m going to keep reviewing ‘em – and as the Japanese candy industry is at least as productive as the American candy industry, if not more so, it doesn’t look like I’m going to run out of stuff to write about any time soon. Like these Four Seas Milk Candies, for example.

The wrappers for the individual candies, strangely enough, say “Four Seas Hokkaido Candy” rather than “Milk Candy,” and I’m sure I’ve seen bags of candy labeled “Hokkaido Milk Candy” as well, so perhaps this is the same case as Super Lemons, where the same candy has been picked up and packaged differently by more than one distributor.

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Japanese Candy Review: Morinaga Hi-Chew

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Soft Candy

Strawberry Hi-Chews

My home province of Alberta is pretty much the Canadian version of Texas – it’s full of oil, cattle and guys in cowboy boots who say “Y’all” a lot (well OK, the last one’s mainly just in Calgary). But my hometown of Edmonton, a stereotypically white-bread, conservative, redneck city, has an ethnic diversity that may surprise you. I can eat at restaurants from a couple dozen different cultures and shop at specialty grocery stores from four or five more – and that’s just within a 10-minute drive of my office, which, by the way, is located not in a vibrant ethnic center, but in the blandest suburban warehouse/industrial district imaginable.

I guess where I’m going with this is that even your own town is probably home to all kinds of unlikely and unexpected food and candy treasures – you just have to know where to go to find the good stuff. Take these Hi-Chews, for example. I snagged a couple of packs of this popular Japanese candy from a Korean grocery store located just a few minutes from my office (woo!).

Hi-Chews are known for their intriguingly bouncy, pillowy texture, almost more like gum than North American fruit chews like Starburst. The coolest thing about them is that they don’t stick in your teeth at all, so you’re not picking bits of candy out of your molars for the next half hour.

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Japanese Candy Review: Glico Walky Walky

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Oddly-Named Candy

Glico Walky Walky

On my last trip to my favorite Asian grocery store, T&T, I was surprised to find what looked like a lot of takeout coffee cups on the shelf in the candy section. Had a crowd of coffee drinkers decided to abandon their beverages in the candy aisle en masse? But upon closer inspection, it was merely the latest candy offering from Glico, Walky Walky – a pellet-shaped candy packaged in a container that resembles a fast-food coffee cup.

The coffee-cup-shaped container is a cute gimmick, even if it did lead me to believe that they might be coffee-flavored. (Coffee and strawberries? Surely not.) Since they’re made by Glico, otherwise known as “the Pocky people,” my first thought upon looking at the package was to wonder if these were just a bunch of Pocky sticks that had been sliced up into little Tart ‘N’ Tiny-sized pellets, and this first impression turned out to be pretty much correct.

The name “Walky Walky” even sounds a bit like “Pocky” – whether this is intentional or not I don’t know (it’s not like Engrish snack names are known for being logical). I suppose the idea behind the name is that these are easier to eat “on the go” than regular Pocky, though it’s not like Pocky are an awkward shape to eat while walking or anything.

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Japanese Candy Review: Lion Coffee Candy

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Hard Candy

Lion Coffee Candy Bag

Here’s the second of the two Japanese items I picked up at T&T the other day, the first being the Senjuku Four Seas Ice Cream Candy I reviewed earlier. At first, I hesitated to buy these because they were kind of a similar item, but they were on sale and I’d been wanting to try them for ages. If I’d thought about it a little more, I would have tried to find another item or two and made this a proper multi-part series on Japanese Hard Candies That Contain Milk And Look Like Cute Things.

And cute is right. Awwwww… look at his widdle nose, and his widdle ears! Don’t you just want to snuggle him? (Cute or not, you know you’re in trouble when you start randomly assigning genders to your snack packages.) The candies inside are individually wrapped with the same bear face print, only every fifth one or so is winking and sticking his widd… er, little tongue out – a nice touch, I thought. Watch out – a whole handful may contain more adorableness than can be safely withstood.

The candies themselves are really nice looking – glossy, detailed little bear shapes, with even the back nicely shaped. Definitely a quality presentation all around. They smell like caramel, a bit like Werther’s, with a faint hint of milky coffee. I wasn’t expecting a hardcore coffee flavor from something so little and cute, and I didn’t get it. They have a mild, milky-sweet taste, more caramel than coffee, but without the salt of a Werther’s.

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