Sakuma Drops are a famous Japanese hard candy that’s considered a classic piece of culture. It’s been around before World War II, and has a very iconic tin that holds the fruity candies. If you’re ever seen the anime movie “Graveyard of the Fireflies”, these candies are featured throughout the film and has contributed to their continued popularity. Japan loved making limited edition candies, as shown by the constant stream of strangely flavored Kitkats that come out with each season. Well, now it’s Sakuma Drop’s turn!
These Sakuma Drops are based on flavors you find in specific regions of Japan. Each place is noted for a special type of food product, and here the Sakuma Drops highlights them. I was given these free samples graciously from Jlist.com, who was eager to see what I thought of this special Japanese candy. Onto the tasting!
Buta Don: The drop itself is honey-tea colored, the flavor is subtle and sweet at first. There’s notes of soy sauce and smoke. The flavor doesn’t escalate much from there, I get a hint of ginger flavor (maybe trying to mimic the subtle starchy sweetness of rice?), so it tastes like “candy” to me more than “pork”. I also haven’t eaten buta don in some time, but this is a delightful sweet/savory flavor like a good pork glaze. I admit, it’s pretty good.
Sasebo Burger:. This at first just tastes sweet, but then a smokey, beefy flavor kicks in that really tastes like a hamburger. You get a taste of sweetness, like there’s ketchup in there, but man….the flavor is authentic and it’s very strange. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact I’m eating a hard candy that tastes so accurately of hamburgers. I can’t decide if I like it or not, cause it was fun and tasty to eat, but my head just keeps thinking “this isn’t right….”. Definitely worth a try if you’re a big hamburger lover.
Kisune Udon: The drop smells smokey. It’s immediately sweet/salty of soy sauce. It has flavors of udon noodle soup, hints of smoke and seaweed of the hondashi broth. I don’t really get any flavors inari packets, which are fried tofu bits which are the distinguishable characteristic of the kitsune udon soup. Again, it’s tasty, but not something I crave. Part of my head is not able to wrap itself around the ideas of a savroy candy drop.
Roasted Corn: Smells buttery and is a more yellow color than the other which were a light creamy beige. The flavor is lightly sweet, very smoky with a hint of butter and an authentic flavor of corn. It’s spot on and pretty yummy. I actually kept eating these.
Tokyo Noodle: Starts off sweet, flavors of light notes of miso and soy sauce. It has the starchy sweetness of noodles and broth, a hint of meat. It’s very authentic with no hints of seaweed. I don’t recall what regional Tokyo ramen has in it (a quick google search tells me it’s soy-flavored chicken broth). But its very authentic and works well as a candy drop.
Gyouza: These are immediately savory and has notes of toasted sesame. it’s has a very distinguished grilled flavor to it, and it reminds me pumpkin seeds. It’s totally savory, but somehow in this flavor, it works. I liked it.
Sapporo Beer: It’s sweet, mild in flavor, and has a nice malty flavor to it. A hint of lemon maybe, which much be the alcoholic flavor trying to peek through. It’s the most traditional candy-like one in the bunch, and I enjoyed it very much.
Oh man these were fun to taste and a I’m so glad I got the opportunity to try them. I liked the ones I thought wouldn’t work, and I disliked the ones I thought would, and overall they were a pleasant surprise. I love candies like this that open up my candy experiences to new unique places. Pork flavored or not, I really recommend trying Sakuma Drops if you ever get the chance.
Rating: Buta Don, Roasted Corn, Tokyo Noodle, Sapporo Beer, Gyouza
Will Eat Again
Kitsune Udon, Sasebo Burger
Not Worth It
Links Sakuma hard Candy Website (Japanese)
This was given to me by one of my good friends from college. He comes from Finland, and he gave me a care package of Finnish candy. He knows I love the Moomins, so he gave me these little boxes of licorice. So cute!
I don’t quite know what to call these. I mean really, who puts “Vitamin” in the name of a candy? Oh, you silly Japanese! Maybe they don’t quite understand the word to being with, and as a native English speaker, I don’t quite get the name “Vitamin Kitchen”. But it’s Engrish so anything goes I guess.
Opening the bag it immediately smells like berry yogurt. Sweet, tangy and berry with a whiff of plastic.
They’re little balls, about the size of hazelnuts. Perfectly round and some a flat-ish on some sides from the way they’re packaged. They’re hard to touch, as they don’t squish in my hand and they’re very smooth and shiny. Despite the image on the package, these are more dull looking and aren’t terribly attractive.
These are very, very chewy. The center has the texture of Starbursts, very thick and dense chew. The flavor is exactly of berries, mainly strawberry and blueberry. It has tart, tangy notes to it. So it’s a nice play of the sweet/sour notes in real berries. Color me impressed! The serving in this bag isn’t terribly big, so these disappeared quickly.
A good example of how an oddly named, and odd-looking candy can still taste awesome. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Wow, a Kitkat review for the correct season, imagine that! These are some of the many season Kitkat flavors that are available in Japan for the winter of 2009-2010. I am able to review them in such a timely manner because Jlist.com was so kind to give me these free samples. There were so many to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down to a handful so I didn’t come across as too greedy. I finally decided on these three flavors: Ohagi, Ginger Ale and Sweet Potato.
I chose these three flavors as they’re ones I’ve never had before, and I’m continually surprised how Nestle keeps finding new flavors to try out in the Kitkat form. January is “strawberry season” for candy in Japan, something I can’t explain really. So I decided to steer clear of one of the many new Strawberry Kitkats out there, as I’ve tried them for a few years and I have a hard time telling the difference.
Ohagi: So what is ohagi exactly? It’s a type of Japanese traditional confection, or wagashi, that is a piece of rice gluten filled with red bean pasted then covered in soy bean powder. Sounds off, I know, but I’ve had them and they’re extremely tasty. The Kitkat is milk chocolate based and it smells nutty, probably from the soybean powder. It has a nice milk chocolate flavor that’s really accented with a strong nuttiness and has a nice subtle note of coffee. It reminds me of gianduja and it’s surprisingly delicious. I want more of these, stat!
Ginger Ale: Opening up the bars I’m surprised to find that it really smells like ginger ale. The base is white chocolate, and the bars have a yellowish tinge to them. I sniff again and am impressed with how accurately it smells of spicy ginger and carbonation. It tastes of spicy lemon cola in a way. It’s not fake tasting at all, but you feel it’s “different”. The texture of the white chocolate makes it very creamy, and it comes across as a ginger ale float. This Kitkat is interesting and delicious but no something I would specifically crave.
Sweet Potato: Sweet Potatoes are an iconic winter food in Japan. They are traditionally sold by a big car that’s like an iron over, that has a piercing whistle on it that blows when the sweet potatoes are roasted and ready to eat. This Kitkat is white chocolate based too and has a sweet, earthy, white chocolate and potato smell. The flavor is a creamier, earthier white chocolate with a hint of potato in the aftertaste. I actually find it refreshing. It tastes ‘cleaner’ than I would have expected and the flavor of potato matches well. Yum!
Oh, I can’t beign to say how much fun these limited edition flavor Kitkats are. I always have a ball trying them, even if they aren’t something I like once I taste them. The problem is that they often make a really delicious flavor that will disappear shortly, so you have to go stock up on them or remember them fondly. I really recommend trying them for yourselves.
Rating: Ohagi: Hoard
Others: Will Eat Again
Links KitKat Breaktown
Welcome all to The Candy Enthusiast‘s first Candy Photo Friday! This is something I’ve been meaning to try out for awhile now, so let me explain exactly what exactly this is. There’s many steps that go into each and every review that I do for the site here, some parts that I enjoy more than others. One of my favorite parts is taking the photos of the candy, as it really it an outlet for my creativity. It love positioning the product in my little light box, and playing with angles and then taking it for re touching in Photoshop.
Problem is, I have many photos for candies I’ve tried over the years, but no tasting notes to go with them. So rather having all those photos go to waste, I’d like to post them here to say: “Hey! I ate that! Isn’t the package pretty?” I’d intend to add any commentary that I have for the photo, so these pots won’t be devoid of writing.
So there you have it, Candy Photo Friday is here to show you that I really do eat more candy than just the reviews I post.