Hi-Chew Pineapple and Grape

June 30, 2008

When we were kids, my brother and I were allowed to pick out a candy whenever we went to the grocery store. I always chose something chocolate — M&Ms, a Milky Way, or maybe a Hershey Bar. I never quite understood my brother, who always went for something sour or fruit-flavored, like Starburst. Who in their right mind would choose Starburst over chocolate? I just chalked it up to further evidence that he was an alien.

I do appreciate some fruit-flavored candy. I like hard candy and gummies. It’s just not something I eat a lot of, as I vastly prefer chocolate. I’ve never liked fruit chews though. I’ll always pass on Starburst.

However, when I ordered some things from Ichiban Kan, I thought I’d get a few Japanese candies too, as I was already paying for shipping. So I bought a bunch of Hi-Chew flavors, figuring that if I didn’t like them I could always pass them off to the alien my brother.

Get to the point… did you like the Hi-Chews or not? I did like the Hi-Chews. A lot, in fact. They have a nice, springy texture and weren’t at all sticky or grainy, two things I associate with fruit chews. Instead, they just sort of melted away as the chew went along, like a nice caramel would.

Now, for the flavors..

Golden Pineapple: This started out tart and tangy, which threw me off a little because I’m used to very sweet pineapple. It became sweeter through the chew, and I was surprised at the complexity. It was very juicy and refreshing. I really enjoyed these, though I should probably mention that pineapple is my favorite fruit. Rating: 9/10

HI-CHEW Grape

(Red) Grape: This is the most realistic grape flavor that I’ve ever had. Most grape things remind me of Dimetapp, but these tasted more like juicy concord grapes. Again, the flavor was surprisingly complex and develops as you chew along. Rating: 8/10

For those of you that are bored, you may want to compare the Japanese and English language websites. Personally, I’m fond of Japanese Hi-Chew mascot. The English site seems boring in comparison.

Nutrition Breakdown: Um, sorry, but I don’t read Japanese. The best I can figure is that they average about 230 calories per package.

Name: HI-CHEW Golden Pineapple and Grape
Brand: Morinaga
Store: Ichiban Kan
Price: $1.00 each

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Pucca Choco Pretzel

April 14, 2008

The Japanese know how to do cute, and their sweets are no exception. These little fish-shaped pretzel-cookies are filled with “choco cream” — think of an inside-out chocolate covered pretzel. They are absolutely adorable. In addition the the fish, my box contained at least one octopus-shaped cookie. I thought it was deformed at first, but then I noticed that octopus shapes were featured on the box. So, sorry octopus. You’re aren’t deformed; in fact, you’re just as cute as your fish-shaped companions!

Unfortunately, my infatuation with these starts with the cuteness and abruptly ends with the flavor.

The pretzel shell is nice and crunchy, but it’s really nothing but a bland cracker. It has no taste, not even a hint of salt. That’s a shame, because I really love the salty-sweet combo of a chocolate covered pretzel.

The “choco cream” is a mixture of sugar, vegetable shortening, cocoa mass, and powdered milk. I’m not loving it or, well, even liking it. The taste is tolerable — it has a strong dairy component and is slightly malty. The texture, however, is terribly greasy and coats my mouth unpleasantly.

Overall, these are cute, but the taste and especially the texture of the filling killed these for me. I believe they also come in a strawberry flavor.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 4 cookies. There are 80 calories, 4.5g of fat (2.5g saturated), 4g of sugar, and less than 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10

Name: Pucca Choco Pretzel
Brand: Meiji
Store: World Market
Price: $1.50
Weight: 1.76 oz.