Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sweet Treat of the Week: Courtney Phillips on Japanese Candy!

Hi Yumsters! Today’s “Sweet Treat of the Week” comes to us from Courtney Phillips, a Yumster who writes about grants for culinary school. Here she tells us all we need to know about Japanese candy! She welcomes your feedback at

No Money for a Vacation? Take a Candy Taste-cation!
Log on to a website like and search for candy and you won’t find any Kit-Kats or even a miniature Snickers bars among the choices, just sweet, sweet Japanese candy with crazy names like ‘Kasugai Puchirin Konpeito Sugar Candy’ and some even crazier flavors. A little Taste-cation can offer a new twist on whatever might be you old favorite.

Ever wander into a candy shop and look at all the aisles thinking, “Gee Whiz, I wish there were something radically different that I could try today.” Well, log on to a Japanese candy website and your prayers have quite radically been answered. How ‘bout some ‘Ramune candy’ flavored like a tasty tropical fruit? Or perhaps you really want to go out on a ledge and get a whole case of ‘E-ma grape mint’ candy which offers no further explanation? C’mon you only live once right?
Feeling timid and don’t want to wait on shipping? Try an old favorite domestic style.
It’s called ‘Pocky by Glico Chocolates’ and you can probably find it in almost any major grocery store or candy chain in your area. Many people have been munching on the snack since childhood, but for those who have never taken the strange step towards their first candy safari, you may not be all that surprised. ‘Pocky,’ like a lot of Japanese candy, is just a little twist on American style. Kit Kats come already covered in chocolate, but with Pocky you get to dip the sweetened bread sticks in liquid chocolate yourself. (There are other types of Pocky that come already dipped, too!)
There are even some Japanese characters on the label so you can ease your eminent switch to the Asian side! It may not be a distant departure from what you normally eat, consider it more a weekend day trip, but you gotta start somewhere right? Look for them nestled among the Asian noodles at your local grocer.

Every once in a while you get to enjoy wonders of mistranslation!
Spend a little time wandering down electronic Asian candy aisles and inevitably you will run into a potentially great product that just didn’t have the money to pay for a great translator, like ‘Flour Sack Taster’ or ‘Lotte Black Black gum.’ That’s just another great thing about what gets lost in translation – you really don’t know what you’re gonna get! Be a little adventurous, take a chance. C’mon, what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe a little tummy ache if you find something you really like!

Other places to buy strange yet tempting Japanese snacks
You’ve probably said it a million times, but ‘oh thank heaven for the internet.’ Just drop Japanese candy or even Asian candy into any search engine and you’ll be amazed at the flurry of results. Not surprisingly has a great selection too. Think of this as your opportunity to be a flavor ambassador in the next Taste-cation revolution!

Thanks for taking us on a candy staycation, Courtney! We'll have to bring back lots of candy souvenirs!
Would you like to be featured as a Candy Yum Yum Sweet Treat of the Week? Contact me at

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