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Cool and wacky candy from Japan

Japanese Candy Review: Neri Ame

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

Neri Ame

I’m a sucker for traditional Japanese food and art. But when it comes to traditional Japanese entertainments, my reaction is often “I guess this is what happens when people don’t have TV.”

Neri-Ame is clearly a combination of food and amusement. And who doesn’t like to play with their food? So despite my skepticism about what the traditional Japanese apparently found entertaining (Kabuki theater, I am looking at you) I had to know what this was about.

Neri-Ame is a little vial of colored stuff packed with a small pair of wooden chopsticks, and according to our friends at J-list, the deal is that you pour the syrup on the chopsticks and “knead in order to create a fluffy-like texture before you consume.” Your first question is no doubt, how do you get a syrup to stay on a chopstick? This turns out to be not too hard, as this stuff is about as thick as it can get and still be sort of a liquid.

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Japanese Candy Review: Puchitto Custard Pudding Hi-Chew

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

Puchitto Hi-Chew
If you’ve been paying close attention, you may remember me as the reviewer of whom much fun was made when I was taken aback by Pop Rocks in my fancy Chuao chocolates. The illustration on the wrapper of the Puchitto custard pudding flavor Hi-chew might seem to promise similar hijinks.

There is a little brown bean-shape, on which I believe is written ‘pudding flavor,’ and it has little shaky-cartoon-lines on either side, suggesting that it’s vibrating with bean-shaped excitement. And – even more reminiscent of the Pop Rocks experience – the drawing of the candy itself, a cream-colored square with little brown spots in it, shows a couple of the spots MUCH larger, and apparently actually EXPLODING, or at least, popping open with a couple of drops squirting out of the resulting hole.

Unfortunately for those of you who are quivering with anticipation of making fun of my sheltered existence, the exploding effect was nothing like Pop Rocks. There’s definitely something going on though – a little snapping effect that’s fairly impressive given how tiny the round globules are. They don’t contribute a lot of flavor as far as I can tell, but they’re amusing.

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Japanese Candy Review: Meiji Grape and Cho-pan

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

Meiji chocolate

Kit Kat isn’t the only Japanese chocolate that comes in interesting flavors that we don’t see much of in candy in this country. I got to sample two Meiji bars, one with a fairly traditional flavor combo, the other more intriguing.

Meiji Cho-Pan
These are little chocolate cups with a crunchy flaky praline filling. There’s supposed to be some cream between two layers of praline crunch, according to the picture on the box and the J-list catalog description. I don’t get much of a sense of cream, but that’s just as well, because I love the crunchy flaky thing they’ve got going here.

The only thing I have against this one is that the chocolate is a bit too mild for my taste. I do like milk chocolate, but I prefer it to be pretty dark milk chocolate. But if you’re the kind of person who likes milk chocolate for the very reason that it’s not dark chocolate, you probably will have no objection to these at all.

Meiji Grape Chocolate
I am a traditionalist about flavor combinations. No, not someone who is scared of new things. Someone who thinks that if chocolate-raspberry has stood the test of time, whereas no one makes anything chocolate-watermelon flavor, there is probably a good reason for that.

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Japanese Candy Review: New Improved Crunky

Categories: Candy,Chocolate Candy,Foreign (non-US) Candy

New Crunky

The Internet is full of English speakers making fun of the name of Crunky. But hardly anyone ever mentions the fact that this is a REALLY GOOD candy bar. This is the new Crunky with even more crunch and it is even more wonderful than before.

I love chocolate bars with crispy rice in them. But since I’ve become a grownup chocolate snob – er, I mean, “connoisseur” – something like a Nestle’s Crunch doesn’t satisfy me. I have been trying other brands of crisp rice bars for years. For a while I settled down with the Newman’s Own version, but somehow, the love wore off. So for a long time, I was bereft of this category of candy in my life – till I found Crunky.

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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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