Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 8:30 AM
Yasu and I are big fans of potato. That includes sweet potato. I often make potato and sweet potato bakes, potato salad, sweet potato chips, and sweet potato mash.
So, when I saw that there were two new Kit Kat's that were sweet potato flavoured, I had to try them.
In Australia we have something that looks like the Okinawan Sweet Potato, the only difference is that it is white in the middle where the beni-imo is purple throughout.
Satsuma-imo, or the regular Japanese sweet potato is very popular, and in winter in Japan they have street vendors that go around the neighbourhood selling baked sweet potato's, so this sweet potato often elicits fond memories of childhood, akin to how Aussie kids think of Mr Whippy. It's also the main ingredient in daigaku-imo (also another Kit Kat of times gone by).
The satsuma-imo Kit Kat has had a few incarnations but this is the first time I will be trying it officially for my blog.
It's actually lighter in colour than I thought it would be. On the package there is a picture of what looks like beni-imo piped into a little rosette, the colour is a dark purple so I thought the chocolate would also be that colour. The chocolate on this Kit Kat is a light lilac colour and has a funny texture. I can't really describe it except to say its very soft and crumbly and reminds me of the outside of Ohagi.
The smell is very familiar to me, pretty much the same as a red sweet potato here. The chocolate on the outside is soft and very sweet. The sweet potato flavour comes through immediately. I like the soft texture. The wafers lend abit of saltiness to the flavour which I really like, though it is not the exact flavour of a beni-imo. It is nice though, delicate is the word that comes to mind about this one.
This is a golden yellow colour and has the same Ohagi texture as the beni-imo Kit Kat. It smells quite earthy, a little bit buttery, but nothing really enticing. Like the beni-imo the texture is soft, which I like. The flavour is really hard to pin down, it doesn't have alot of the flavour of a satsumai-mo, I get a flavour that reminds me of white wine, butter, some sweetness, abit of salt, and some creaminess, but nothing really exact. I've had satsuma-imo in Japan and it didn't taste anything like this. Unfortunately for me, I felt this was way off the mark. It really had the texture but unfortunately no real characteristics of the flavour.
Yasu and I both liked the beni-imo the best. We felt that the flavour was very true to the vegetable and the texture made us feel like we were eating a real one. I'm thinking about buying a bag of the beni-imo, and I'd definitely recommend it to you to try.
I wouldn't buy the satsuma-imo again though, that was pretty disappointing. Though some may like it. :)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 3:09 PM
I'm not a fan of spicy foods. I don't really consider Wasabi in that category though because it's a flavour that flares up for a few seconds and then goes away, not like when you eat a hot curry that makes your eyes water, your lips tingle and your throat scorch.
I got these from napaJapan, and it's not something I would have tried without prompting, but thankyou NJ for allowing me to try lots of great new flavours :)
Doritos, I love. Wasabi flavour Doritos, scary.
These are said to be thicker than the original Doritos, and when I measured I found it is true. They are pretty much double the thickness.
There is really no great wasabi smell when I open the bag. They smell pretty much like toasted corn chips. Oh okay, this is going to be no big deal I think.
Wrong! I put one on my tongue, wrong move. I get an immediate wasabi hit, and I mean hit! That wasabi is so strong! Luckily for my poor tongue, removal of the corn chip means wasabi flavour dies away, but oh my god, that is hot. The corn chip itself is nice and crunchy, but it's just the wasabi flavour that is way too much for me.
In saying that, my tongue is a coward, but I can say that the flavour is very true to real wasabi, as if I'd spread wasabi paste on a corn chip and eaten it. I get that familiar puff of smoke out my ears.
I couldn't eat more than one of these, and even the first one was in little bites. Yasu though, thoroughly enjoyed these and ate the whole bag in one sitting. Not sure though if that's his "man's taste" or just because he's Japanese...
I would buy these again for Yasu as he loved them. I couldn't stand to eat them again but only because my tongue and strong wasabi flavour don't mix. I think these would be great for a picnic or bbq, and a great snack with beer.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 10:59 AM
You can buy these now at napaJapan!Sorry for the long time between posts...they don't call this time of year the "silly season" for no reason!
But here I am, back again, with another interesting Japanese snack.
A great snack for the season, this is a box of pretzel sticks made with Fuji Apples, in the theme of a French apple tart. The picture on the box is mouthwateringly yummy-looking.
At first I thought these were a reverse pocky but with apple in the middle, then I realised they are more like a Pretz, a pretzel stick with flavouring.
The box has two separately wrapped packets inside, each holding 17 sticks. Unwrapping the bag, a beautiful smell of apple and cinnamon escapes, and I'm thinking how delicious it's going to be.
The pretzels themselves are a light brown colour with cinnamon and spices on the outside. The pretzel is crunchy and because of the rich butter inside tastes exactly like a pie crust. The sticks are full of flavour. The apple, while not a filling in the middle, is added in puree form to the mixture of the stick, so you get a slight Fuji apple flavour when you crunch down on it. It's more pie crust than pie filling, you do get a sense of the apple, but it is ever-so-slight, not really the main attraction here.
I really like sucking on the outside, the spices taste lovely. Actually, I found by sucking on the outside of the pretzel you do get more of a sense of the apple flavour than crunching down on it, though I don't know why.
You know these go really great with some icecream or a big cold glass of milk! Scooping up some icrecream on the end of one of these sticks just tastes so divine, and makes it that much more authentic.
I'd get these again, they are something different, indulgent and good quality.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 3:14 PM
Surprise packages in the mail are wonderful things aren't they? As are the people who send them. Especially when they are from places far far away where all our favourite snacks come from, in my case, Japan.
This was part of a parcel but I didn't know it until days later when I went to the box and found it hiding! So it was a double surprise ;)
Puccho is fairly new to my tastebuds and my first foray was not so good. Chocolate/Strawberry with chocchips is a fairly mundane flavour though, so I was expecting to like this flavour.
The colour of this candy is mostly pink and has a line of chocolate running through the middle and appears at both ends. There are significant chocolate chips at either end, and strawberry gummi pieces in the middle.
The candy actually smells like icecream, neapolitan flavour. Biting into it there is the tartness of strawberry, a milky icecream taste, and then the actual chocolate in the candy gives a rich chocolate icecream flavour. Amongst this though, it's quite hectic in my mouth, because the gummi balls escape and run away. It's hard to explain, but when the gummi and chocolate come out from the centre, the candy itself kind of comes apart and goes every which way. The gummi pieces are soft and slippery so that biting down on them just makes them spin out of control either towards the back of my throat or the other side of my mouth.
At the end, the texture is reminscent of chewing gum, because it has a chewy texture with a bit of graininess. Depending on what side you bite down on, you can experience the chocolate or strawberry flavour first.
It's kind of hectic but I really like the flavour, in fact, while revewing this candy I ate 6 pieces out of 10. Despite being an every day flavour, put together with the chocolate and the gummi, it becomes quite unique and adventurous for me. If I was in the mood for something unique I would definitely get this again, I also think children would find this quite amusing. :)
Yasu's Rating: I like the flavour, it's quite good. I would eat it again.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 6:17 AM
Shigekix is a product I've seen around ever since I started learning Japanese, oh, about 20 years ago now. (Yeah, I'm really showing my age now aren't I?)
I've always given them a miss though because, well, I've just never been into Japanese gummi. By never trying them from the beginning, I've never given them a go, because I'm scared of the unknown and all that. The eyes on the package give me the creeps to be exact.
This gummi make me think that when I put it in my mouth my head will explode or something to that effect. Plus it has "kix", in it's name. What kind of kix I wonder?
Fate had a hand in dropping this packet of Shigekix into my life, so now I must take up the challenge and sample it for you, dear readers. Oh god, what did I get myself into?
Shigekix are essentially super sour gummi. They have a sour powder coating followed by a rather hard gummi, in this case flavoured with melon soda. They're also enriched with Grape extract and Vitamin C.
I knew that the gates of hell awaited me when I opened the packet and the sourness wafted up to my nose. I can only describe the sourness as sucking on four lemons at the same time. Oh...it's bad! So sour!!
Luckily, if you suck fast the sour powder dissolves quickly and you get to the sweet melon goodness underneath sooner. It's quite an accurate melon soda flavour including fizz. The gummi is quite hard and you have to chew it quite well, or suck it for a looong time.
I have to say I'm not a fan of the hard gummi texture. Only because it got stuck in my teeth. I don't like the sucking-on-lemons sourness either, it's just too sour for me!! But I do like the melon soda flavour. So, one out of three isn't so bad, I guess?
I wouldn't buy this of my own volition, let's just say that. But, I'm sure some people would. It was an interesting experience though, and I'm glad after 20 years I finally found out what Shigekix is all about. I'm pretty sure if I tried this when I was in primary school, I would have loved it, as super sour candies, and burn-your-tongue-off candies were all the rage with us back then. :)
Yasu's Rating: I like this. I like the sour flavour and the hard gummi. These are a favourite from childhood. I like sucking the powder off.
You can find this flavour plus four others over at napaJapan right now :)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 7:48 PM
There is a plethora of interesting Kit Kat flavours in Japan. Some that are normal to Japanese people like melon or sweet potato, seem downright weird in other countries.
Whereas confectionary like chilli chocolate is quite normal here, or chilli beer for that matter. So, a chilli Kit Kat does not seem so out of the ordinary to me. That said, I've never sampled chilli chocolate or chilli beer because I can't stand spicy food. I never eat anything with chilli in it.
So it's just karma that I now have to sample chilli Kit Kat balls then isn't it?
This Kit Kat comes in an interesting form. Little balls; more like maltesers than an actual Kit Kat until you bite into them and see the wafer. Mine came over from Japan in the heat of a Perth summer and melted, so now they are little squares instead! But never mind, I'm pretty sure they taste the same.
The chocolate still smells the same, sweet and chocolately, like Nestle chocolate does. Biting into the ball there is the sweet chocolate taste and loud crunch of wafer and then... a spicy hotness exploding onto my tongue and around my mouth.
Okay, it's not really that bad. For someone who can't take any spice, it's actually not that bad. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. It's spicy, it's hot, but it doesn't get any hotter. On swallowing, my throat does get quite hot too, but it doesn't make my eyes water or my nose run.
I tried eating four of these at one time, and it was a little bit hotter, but it still didn't make my orifaces water. It was a couple of levels hotter, but I could stand it.
I like this Kit Kat. I LIKE THIS KIT KAT. Never thought I would say that! But I do. I like the sweetness of the chocolate and the hotness of the chilli inside. I can imagine for real chilli lovers these would not be hot enough though...but I think because of that they are not limited to adult tastes so that is one thing in their favour. These are actually quite addictive and I have to admit to scoffing the whole pack by myself.
The picture on the packet is a little scary, I must admit. But it's not actually like that in real life. Sure, you can see a few pink dots, but nowhere near as many, and as neatly as the half a little ball on the packet.
Oh and if you suck all the chocolate off and then sort of crush the wafer in your mouth, you won't taste the chilli until the very end. It's kind of a delayed experience. I personally like biting down though.
I would definitely buy these again, for my worst enemy! And for my friends too :) They are pretty good!! I recommend you try them because hey, they're a novelty item, there are big bragging rights that go hand in hand with eating this Kit Kat; plus they taste pretty good!
Yasu's Rating: They were too hot for me (and I like kimchi and spicy things). I didn't like these at all.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 5:43 AM
I've seen a few Japanese snacks come out lately with the flavour of Ginger Ale (think Kit Kat, and candy). Once one company markets a particular flavour, then all Japanese companies get with the program and saturate the market with the same flavour or versions thereof (just think shio).
I had no idea this product even exisited until I received a parcel with it in there. On appearance I thought it was pineapple gum because of the colour of the packet. It wasn't until I actually read it that I found it was Ginger Ale.
Ginger Ale is one of those things you either love or you hate. I'm the latter. I've always loved it. I totally buy into the Japanese Ginger Ale marketing ploy because it's a flavour I think can span many different types of products.
I'm happy to say that it can also be used in gum! I really enjoyed these because they were very true to the actual drink. Despite being quite small and flat, and bright yellow, very unlike the colour of Ginger Ale, they had lots of flavour and punch.
Ever had a Ginger Nut biscuit? Well that is what these taste like. At first I got a very big hit of ginger, and a hotness at the back of my throat, and a menthol feeling almost like a cold and flu lozenge. As I continue to chew, the hotness gets hotter and the ginger more intense. There is some sweetness there which seems a welcome respite to the intense ginger. This is duality, sweet and hot at the same time.
Where as in some products containing Xylitol I have found that I didn't like the fake sweetness of the sweetener, in this product it really shines because the sweetness is enhanced to seem very real by the ginger. The ginger-burn lasts even after all the ginger flavour is spent in the gum (a couple of minutes). It is then just down to a sweet flavour which would be awful any other time but is quite fine as my throat is still burning. I would love to try these if I had a cold, because I feel as if if I did have a blocked nose, these would help!
These are more fiery than regular ginger ale, but I think it is a good thing. It really makes this gum stand out from the crowd, gives it that extra "oomph". The good thing with these is that the flavour is long-lasting, and by that I mean over 20 minutes or more. The ginger burn is lesser than immediately after biting into it, but it is still there at the back of my throat.
I would buy these again, and I would recommend them to you if you come across them. They are definitely my new gum of choice! You can buy these over at napaJapan for $1.99 too!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 10:01 AM
I am a big fan of Tirol chocolates and also a very big fan of Cheese snacks like Cheetos. I was still surprised though, to see the two had been combined into one snack!
Nevertheless, I am an adventurer. Well, not really, but I force myself to try new things for the sake of my readers...
What this is essentially is a twisty cheetos with kinako mochi chocolate covering. Now, on the packet it looks like quite a thick covering, so I thought it would be equal amounts of cheese to chocolate or even a bit more chocolate than cheese.
However, when I opened the bag I discovered this was not the case. It looks like the cheese stick has been rolled in chocolate and then hung from the washing line to drip dry - leaving a very thin layer of chocolate coating.
That is a bit disappointing.
And while I'm here I just have to mention that picture on the left-hand side of what is supposed to be mochi or a mochi man. It kinda looks abit "manly" to me, or is that just my dirty mind? We have kinako balls on the plate and we have long cheese sticks covered in chocolate.....makes me wonder if a man came up with this packaging idea? Hmph.
Anyway, moving on! Opening the bag up, a smell like an icecream truck tickles my nose. Icecream truck as in the cone and the vanilla soft serve. Don't ask me why, it just smells like that to me!
Most of the sticks are about 2cm long. As I said previously they have a very thin layer of light brown coloured chocolate that feels very waxy. From the outside they smell like vanilla and peanut. Biting in, there is not much flavour at first. I feel the crispy texture and hear the crunch crunch crunch as I chew, but that is all. Then, right at the end as I swallow there is a slightly toasted peanut flavour. It's very light, not too sweet, not too peanut-y, very middle-of-the-road.
Cheese snacks are usually pretty rich I find, so this is very light compared to what I expected.
I tried eating them a different way, as in eating them 3 at a time. This brought out much more of the kinako flavour. It tasted less like peanut and more like toasted kinako.
I tried sucking the chocolate off the stick, and then I got alot of the sweetness from the chocolate, more than the kinako flavour. The stick, to my surprise is quite sweet, but I could not detect any cheese. It was then that I looked at the ingredients and discovered that there wasn't any cheese in these cheetos.
It's just a "raw" cheetos without the cheese flavouring, covered in kinako mochi chocolate. Where is the fun in that I ask you? Here I was looking forward to eating cheese and chocolate and there is no cheese!! Boo Hoo.
In any case, these were ok. I really was disappointed about there being no cheese, but I really like the kinako mochi chocolate on the outside. Pity it wasn't a cheetos shaped kinako mochi chocolate. Besides the crunch crunch there is no real bonus of having the cheetos in the mix.
You can now buy this at napaJapan, where I bought mine. I wouldn't eat them again, because I'm just not a fan of the texture, however the flavour is very good. If they changed it into a chocolate instead of on a cheetos, I would definitely buy it.
Yasu's Rating: These are good, I enjoyed them. I don't care there is no cheese, the flavour suits me fine. I am more interested in the texture and the crunchiness, combined with kinako, a traditional flavour of Japan.
*Yasu's Rating is a new addition to my post and is there to give a Japanese person's perspective on the snacks I review. Sometimes we may differ, and sometimes we will be the same. It may give perspective on why Japanese companies make the products they do.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 3:02 PM
Sakuma Drops have been famous since before WW2 and became iconic in the movie "火垂るの墓" (Grave of the fireflies). They have been popular forever and are now enjoying a new boom time in Japan which means strange new drop flavours are increasing.
This one quite literally meaning "Go To Hell", are drops that are "hell spicy", really great for people who like spicy candy! Spicy candy? If there is such a thing!
Each container has 25 candies inside, each a searing round ball of pain that will be sure to bring tears to your eyes and burn your tongue off. I guess it depends on how hot you love your candy!
I certainly won't be trying these unless I have a big glass of milk handy ;)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 8:30 AM
This is another random selection from Seria, and the last of the food souvenirs I brought back from Japan. Phew!
As with the other Country Ma'am cookies I brought back, these were 100 yen or $1. Despite the size of the bag they only have 5 individually wrapped cookies.
I really like black sugar from Okinawa so I had high expectations of these.
The cookie is much smaller than I expected, kind of a bit shrivelled up if you ask me. It's quite dark brown, and crumbly.
The smell from the bag is quite strong, you can tell what it is without even looking at the label, it smells exactly like black sugar. I actually think these are abit less than the standard size, but the flavour more than makes up for this.
The flavour packs a punch. Wham. Bam! It's right there in your face, very strong black sugar. The chocolate chips in these (2 of them) are a nice sideshow to the black sugar and it gives it an injection of sweetness that is lacking with the strength of the sugar.
I quite like these and they go really well with a cup of Japanese tea. It's a really "Japan" kind of flavour, something that I always like, so if you like that of 和味 (note this is not a word, but my own creation "wa aji", signifying a really Japanese flavour) then you will definitely like these!!
I would buy these again, but chances are I won't have the opportunity to as I'm sure they have already come out with new flavours. :)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 2:00 PM
Fujiya is a sweets company that is well known for its female character Peko-chan and the male counterpart Poko-chan.
Unfortunately they have gained notoriety over the past couple of years because they used ingredients past the use-by date, or mislabelled ingredients and expiry dates on products they manufactured. As a result some Fujiya outlets closed their stores temporarily and just this week I've heard another case where the branch in Osaka did not put expiry dates on the products properly.
As a result of this Fujiya lost a lot of long-time customers; but because they did make a recovery onto the scene again seemed to be regaining ground they had lost.
In any case, Yasu and I have always been fans of Fujiya. In my case I have quite a few Peko-chan dolls and rare memorabilia, and one of Yasu's friends has a sister that works for a Fujiya outlet in Tokachi which we like to visit.
We have always been a fan of milky too. So that is why I picked up these two bags in Hokkaido, the Melon flavour especially resonating with me. These were bought at Seria for 105 yen each, around $1 and they both contain 14 individually wrapped candies each.
On the Fujiya website they have a few different flavours; original, salty balls, black sugar, caramel, strawberry milk, and even throat lozenges.
The new website expressly for Milky they have information about all the new snacks, flavours passed, horoscopes, information on how the candy is made, and you can join to get access to special features. It's worth taking a look, it's really pretty!
The candy is the usual size and shape, but each candy is half the normal colour and half the flavoured colour. Banana is white and yellow and Melon is white and green.
Has a very "banana milkshake" smell to it. The banana flavour is quite light, not overpowering at all. It's also quite sweet, more sweet than banana taste in there though. Very soft and easy to chew, but I'm disappointed in the strength of the banana flavour in there. The bag says there is 2% banana essence, I guess that is why. It would have been better with 10% perhaps. This candy leaves a sweet taste at the back of my mouth that makes me really thirsty.
The candy doesn't really smell like anything. The melon flavour is really strong on these and it's very similar to the real thing. There is a hard part in the middle of the candy that I didn't experience with the Banana. There is alot of creaminess in here towards the middle, a "milky" flavour really comes out and it's not unlike a less sweet condensed milk flavour. I really liked this but for the hard middle.
The Melon flavour is definitely my favourite. I love that burst of creaminess in the centre. Shame about the hard part, if only the texture of the banana and the flavour of the melon could be combined, it would be a real winner.
I would buy these again because they're cheap, they're abit "natsukashii", and they're good for sharing. They also have lots of different flavours coming out regularly so it's fun to try them every now and then to see what's on offer. I know kids love these too!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Posted by Kelly at 3:15 PM
When I bought this, I was under the impression that it was something akin to Pocky, as in a pretzel stick with chocolate and the flavours were watermelon and lemon. How wrong was I.
It's actually stick candy with those flavours but no chocolate, just candy. Still, I'm challenging myself with this menu so here goes.
I was surprised to find that there were 6 individual packets inside, 3 each of watermelon soda and lemon soda. Each pack has 2 sticks inside.
Each stick is about 10cm long and half a centimetre in diameter. The sticks have a glossy finish.
The watermelon flavoured candy stick is pink with black dots throughout. The lemon one also has a few pips included and this is because it's a kind of watermelon theme. Both packets look like watermelon, they both have the pips, but the lemon one is yellow. There is a play on words going on as this is called "sui-karipori" and a watermelon is "suika".
Both sticks smell similar to their fruity counterparts. When broken in half the sticks deliver a loud crunch noise, hence the name, "karipori".
At first the candy feels like sucking on plastic, but then I get a sense of "fizziness". The candy dissolves in my mouth but I much more prefer crunching on it which enhances the fizz.
The watermelon flavour is pretty good, but with all the fizz ends up having a weird chemical taste at the end. The lemon really tastes like sour lemons, down to the sour part, and I found the fizz was less intense, and the flavour was sweeter at the end.
I like the lemon flavour more because I hate candy that tastes weird like chemicals.
It's not something I would usually buy, and I probably wouldn't buy it again, but only because this sort of thing is not my cup of tea. I like the idea and I'm sure kids would love this. If I had kids I would probably buy it for them.