Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wacky Snack of The Week - Tirol Chocolate Cheetos

Introducing a new section of my blog : Wacky Snack of The Week.

This weeks snack is Tirol x Cheetos Coffee Nougat.

Yes, that is right. Cheetos Coffee Nougat Flavour. Cheetos covered in coffee flavoured chocolate nougat. What a bizarre idea!

Image borrowed from Fritolay Japan

Fritolay describe this as melt-in-your-mouth coffee nougat Tirol poured over Cheesy Cheetos.

I have just ordered a bag from NapaJapan and look forward to trying it soon!! I've never thought of cheese and chocolate going together, but when I think about it, coffee is served with cheese, so why not chocolate and cheese?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Glico Heart Caramels グリコ心形のキャラメル


"The running man" is an icon well known to Glico. Their catch-cry is that one caramel will allow you to run 300 metres. Though everyone knows that it doesn't really work, it's just a sales pitch. Which begs the question, if everyone knows, why do they continue to have it written on the box?

Anyway, I've seen these around but never tried them. What really coaxed me into buying them was the free toy that was attached. At 31 I'm still a sucker for a free toy, however lame it may seem!

There was a choice between the bread maker toy, dinosaur robots, or insects. Being a girl, I chose the bread-maker, you know, to tie in with that long-held belief of men that women belong in the kitchen. Hmm.

I was right to say "lame" toy, because it is. I must have drawn the shortest straw possible because what I got was a plastic jar with a spoon. I opened the lid of the jar in expectation that I was getting something inside, but alas, only air in there. A look at the box shows me I could have got a set of scales, a bread bin, or a serving tray with tongs. Damn. Thought I was getting the cute scales. Oh well. Who wants a free jar and spoon toy?

The box of caramels only have 5 caramels in them. Supposing that you could run 300 metres with every bite, you could expect to run 1500 metres with the whole box. But you would need another box to get back. Would the 154 calories consumed by eating these be burned off in the process I wonder? Anybody tried this?

Moving along to the caramels, they are shaped like a heart. Not sure if this has anything to do with health - aka healthy hearts through running, or Glico is expressing their love for us buying their products.

The caramel really tastes like coconut and is chewy. Looking at it I thought it would be hard. In the centre there is a taste like lemon peel, powdered milk and caramel. To me, it tastes weird. The ingredients list claims alot of B vitamins, Calcium, and Sweeteners. The sweeteners I can agree on because it's so throat burningly sweet while I'm chewing it my throat feels like it's on fire.

I bet the sweetener alone could power you 300 metres. And guess what, I got a headache right after eating this too.

I guess, because it's been around for so long, Glico's heart caramels are a hit. But not with me. Certainly, Yasu's eye's started sparkling when I showed him the box. Not sure if that's out of childhood sentimentality or he just loves snacks.

I bought these for $1.38 and even with the lame toy included it wasn't worth it. I won't be buying these again. (The yucky coconut and lemon peel taste is still in my mouth!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Puccho Shio Lemon with Gummi ぷっちょしおレモン


Puccho is a brand I've seen out and about which reminds me of Hi-chew. It's definitely targeted towards children which is an area that in the past I've stayed away from when it comes to Japanese candy.

A new year is almost here and because of that (and that I'm reaching 100 posts), I've decided to push myself and try a few different things, one of them being Puccho.

There were a variety of flavours on offer when I bought these, but this one seemed the weirdest and less appealing flavour. Salty lemon. Hmm not unless I'm drinking tequila?

The packet is considerably summery, and looking on their website I can't find a mention so I would say this has been and gone in regards to where the Japanese market is now. However, it's summer in Perth, so good timing for me. (And I might add the best before date is February 2010, so still within the good tasting zone.)

The difference between this and Hi-chew is that this has little bits of round gummy pieces inside, plus because of the salty lemon flavour, bits of salt, would you believe.

Each pack has 10 pieces and the packet opens via a string, similar to chewing gum packs.

The piece itself feels like plastic and is white with a light yellow colour on each end, again very similar to Hi-Chew.

Biting into it there is this taste just like lemon butter, or lemon curd, it's so sour at the back of my throat! The gummy in the middle is chewy but a bit hard and it's really salty like swallowing water at the beach. Ugh.

The problem with this candy is that the yoghurt part is kind of tough like old leather and not very much like yoghurt in flavour, the gummy are lumpy and hard to chew and the salt is overwhelming like someone rolled a lemon in salt and threw it in the ocean. Eww...

I'm not a fan...these two flavours just don't go together. Sour and salt. Only with alcohol I think. I also don't like the texture, tough on the outside, hard and chewy on the inside, and stuck between my back teeth.

Did I sabotage myself by getting a flavour I thought was weird? I didn't think so at the time because I am a fan of salt and vanilla together so I thought this might be the same. I had expectations of liking this one.

$2.39 down the drain. I wonder if kids would like this? And who can I fob this onto? Anyone want a pack of Puccho with 7 pieces left? I'm serious guys.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kameda Seika Age Ichiban Senbei 亀田製菓揚げ一番せんべい


I've been looking around for some senbei (rice crackers) in the Japanese supermarkets around me, but mostly the flavours are all the same. Either soy sauce, plain salt, seaweed, or sesame. Absolutely no prawn flavour, or other interesting flavours, only the usual fare.

So when I went into Maruyu yesterday and discovered Age Ichiban I had to buy some! Kameda Seika make my favourite senbei of all time - Kotsubukko. Age Ichiban is very similar to Kotsubukko in that the texture and idea is the same, it's still Age (fried), but they are small round balls of fried soy sauce goodness. Age Ichiban is fried soy sauce goodness in a larger size (6cm diameter) and individually wrapped in the packet.

I paid $3.99 for this pack of 155 grams. There are 25 individually wrapped senbei total. Not bad.

I love these because when you open the wrapping you can smell the soy sauce immediately and it also has a lovely sweet smell that goes along with it, sort of like the sweetness in Teriyaki.

The senbei is quite hard and there is a loud crunch when you bite into it, and I wouldn't recommend these for people with sensitive or weak teeth. But anyway, if you love a good crunch these are great.

The flavour is really present without being overwhelming. Despite being deep fried they are not too oily. It's kind of hard for me to explain the flavour other than that its really soy sauce in the beginning then becomes quite sweet soy sauce at the end.

Just like kotsubukko I can't stop eating these, and one is not enough. I've already eaten four during this review. Stop Kelly stop!!

Thankfully, Yasu doesn't like these so I have the whole pack to myself. Good times. :) I guess you know the answer, YES I would definitely buy this again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Choco Dutsumi Chocolate 新食感チョコレートちょこづつみ


These were the look of souvenirs brought back from Japan this time around. I decided on food as I had already been there before and brought home the obligatory fans and trinkets, which I know most people like to get but never actually use. Food, and certainly chocolate flavoured food, is always going to go down well, even if it looks strange.

The box lends itself to souvenirs too because it has a traditional Japanese pattern on one half of the box with pretty Japanese writing.

Choco Dutsumi looks traditional while still having flavours we can recognize. It's actually soft balls of mochi (sweet rice) with chocolate ganache in the centre.

There are two separately wrapped packets of four balls each inside the packet. It's easy enough to slide one out and open it, and the flavour is such that one small packet is more than enough for one person.

The mochi is dark brown and has cocoa powder inside. It's soft on the outside and has a similar texture to a peach, hence the 新食感 on the label (new texture). There is a big ball of chocolate ganache on the inside, which has alot more flavour than the outside and is thick and creamy.

You can bite it in half or put the whole ball in your mouth and chew. It really doesn't matter. Either way you get to experience the soft chewy rice and the thick creamy ganache.

These have cocoa butter, cocoa powder and raw cream in them and you can tell because the quality is really good. I bought these at Don.Kihote for 168 yen per box, about $1.70. Not bad value considering they are shareable.

These don't come with picks for eating, I just used a toothpick, though I'm sure most of my Aussie friends would have picked them up with their fingers, it just means it's a bit sticky.

I would definitely buy these again and may even bring them back as souvenirs again if I can find a different flavour.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Country Ma'am Hokkaido Kinako Cookies 北海道きなこ


Kinako is only just a recent discovery for my tastebuds, but it's one I surprisingly enjoy. Kinako is soybean flour which is made by toasting soybeans and grinding them into flour.

I picked up this bag in Seria for 100 yen or around $1. It contains 5 individually wrapped cookies, each about 3.5cm in diameter.

They are a golden brown colour, mainly due to the fact that theire is caramel colour included in the ingredients.

Breaking the cookie in half it is crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. There are noticeable white chocolate chips in the middle, I had four chips in mine.

The flavour is unlike other kinako I have tasted. The first taste offers up a slightly burnt flavour, not unlike burnt caramel. Its only at the very end that I get to the slight peanut like flavour that kinako often has. The white chocolate chips don't really add alot to this cookie, mainly because the burnt caramel flavour is the major player here and the white chocolate are mere bits that only provide a burst of flavour if I bite directly on it. It doesn't enhance the flavour though, just detracts from the main theme.

I would have preferred this without the white chocolate chips. They weren't really sweet but they just took away from it flavour wise. If the chips weren't there I could have concentrated more on the actual flavour of the kinako.

I've never tasted Hokkaido kinako before, so I wasn't sure if it was true to the flavour, but asking Yasu who is from Hokkaido, he said it's very much Hokkaido kinako, so obviously it's just me who really prefers the regular non-Hokkaido kinako.

These were ok, but I wouldn't buy them again. Yasu said they were just okay, which doesn't inspire much confidence in me. They're ok for a buck, and the good thing is if you don't like them they're individually wrapped so you can give them away to unassuming people. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ishiya Shiroi Koibito 白い恋人


Shiroi Koibito is a premium sandwich cookie made in Hokkaido. It's usually given as a present to co-workers, friends and family on return from Hokkaido.

These days with the invention of the internet, you can simply go to their online shop if you live in Japan and get it delivered to you, rather than going all the way to Hokkaido. It is also available at airports nationwide, I saw it in Nagoya airport along with the Shiroi Koibito drink which I will expand upon at the bottom.

I've never actually bought it anywhere other than Hokkaido, I think it tastes better that way. I know when I'm in Hokkaido I'm home, so for me this is the taste of home.

The boxes come in a manner of different sizes, this here is the smallest one, retailing at 740 yen or around $7.50 for 12 individually wrapped pieces.

When I came home from Japan I bought a suitcase full of unique candies including Shiroi Koibito, and from the 100 yen store I bought some paper bags. I then filled up the bags with the candy and one each of the Shiroi Koibito. They were very much a hit and for weeks on end we had Yasu's co-workers asking us where they could get some more of this whitey goodness! They didn't realise we still had one small box stashed away in our cupboard for ourselves, and we weren't willing to share!

Anyway, so back to the cookie itself. It has French on the box that says
"Chocolate blanc et langue de chat". Googling that I found that it means "Chocolate and white cats tongue". The actual name of the cookie means "white lover". I guess Hokkaido could be known as my white lover anytime!

The cookie is 5cm x 5cm in diameter, is slightly rounded with the white filling poking out the corners. The cookie is golden and has a slightly more golden colour around the edges.

It's quite crumbly and breaking it in half means that a thousand crumbs fall off the edges. The filling is a thin layer of white creamy chocolate that just melts in my mouth, and is beautiful white chocolate in a demure way.

The cookie itself, despite using shortening has a really nice texture and has a slight taste of coconut. It's not oily or dry, its just right.

They use cocoa butter, cocoa powder and milk from Akayama (the maker's home town) to come up with a cookie I can't ever resist, no matter how many times I have it.

Yasu is quite the slave to Shiroi Koibito, and I have to hide it in the cupboard otherwise he would eat the whole box in one sitting and wouldn't save any for me!! Despite the fact that he's from Hokkaido and had it countless times when he lived there.

Ishiya have realised that when you do something you should do it well, and they have. It's been a stayer in the market for 30 years and still going strong.

As an aside, they have a website with a video showing how Shiroi Koibito is made, and they also have Shiroi Koibito Park, where for 600 yen entry you can make your own version of Shiroi Koibito. There is a chocolate tower and a lounge where you can indulge in all your favourite Ishiya delights, a chance to watch SK being made, do some shopping and relax in the restaurant. Each box also comes with a discount voucher for the park. If anyone here is planning on going and they want the voucher you are welcome to email me (adults get 100 yen off and children 50 yen).

Ishiya also make a Shiroi Koibito chocolate drink, which I picked up at Nagoya airport, funnily enough I couldn't find it where I was staying in Hokkaido. The drink was just as great as the biscuit, but in another dimension, it was also creamy and had that definite taste. You can buy a box of 2 for 420 yen.

This photo was borrowed from Ishiya website

Okay, so when it comes to Shiroi Koibito I have one thing to say, these are my favourite and I'm not into sharing! So go get your own! ;)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lotte Drink Mix Candy いろいろたのしいドリンクミックス


This bag of candy was another gift from my generous sister in law in Japan. The packet is meant to look like a vending machine.

All the drinks in this bag you can actually buy from vending machines, but also supermarkets and convenience stores. They are what one would refer to as "for your health", or what I think Japanese people think are for their health but are not actual health drinks bar one.

They are all citrus in flavour, but apart from that they probably have loads of sugar, so not actually a 'real' health drink if you know what I mean!

There are 5 drinks and 5 individually wrapped candies for each flavour, making 25 candies in the bag.


This has the refreshing taste of white grapefruit, just like the drink that I love so much! I really enjoyed this candy, it only had a hint of sweetness, more sourness, which I liked because it didn't make me thirsty.

C.C. Lemon

An oldie but a goodie, a big hitter in the popularity stakes, kind of a staple like Vegemite to Australia. This has a fizzy texture and a tart lemon flavour. The texture of the candy is quite hard and has a lot of lines in the candy itself, abit hard on my tongue, but the flavour is consistent with the real life drink. I liked this but my tongue didn't.

Natchan! Orange

My husband loves this drink, it's his absolute favourite. I'm not sure if it's because of the cute image on the packaging or the taste itself, but I have to admit, I like it too. Natchan! kind of reminds me of the from concentrate orange juice drinks we get here that are diluted with water. It's not 'real' freshly squeezed juice, but it has that smooth flavour that kids love. The candy was exactly the same in flavour and texture as the drink, the candy is quite smooth in texture, the taste is very orangey.


A stalwart of the yoghurt type drinks in Japan, this is along the same lines as Yakult pro-biotic drink. You can taste the custard like notes in this first off, and the the tang of the yoghurt. Very true to the real life drink, I really enjoyed this candy because it offered something different. It was smooth and tangy but with a real dairy feel.


This comes in a brown bottle in Japan - this is how Japanese manufacturers know they are not messing around, this is the real deal mate. Or something like that. Well, it looks more professional for a 'health drink' than coming in a pet bottle! I've never actually had the real drink and judging from the candy, I'm not sure if I want to! It's quite fizzy, sour, and with no real sweetness at all. It's like sucking on a sour lemon candy. The texture of the candy is quite rough too so it ripped up my tongue when I sucked on it too hard. No smiles here.

These are all real winners for me except Dekavita. Though if you like your candy sour, then I'm sure you would like it.