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Weird Junk Foods: A Starving Man Reviews Japan’s Tiniest Candy

Weird Junk Foods: A Starving Man Reviews Japan’s Tiniest Candy

  • Culture
  • Food
I eat too much candy for a grown-ass man. From Snickers bars to Nerds, I’ve had them all.

However, It seems like these are the same few candy products that are being offered to us on the shelves of 7-11 or your local mama shop. Even when they release a new product, it’s made of the same chocolate and tastes exactly the same as previous versions.

If I’m on my way to developing Type 2 Diabetes, I would at the very least like to do it with some style and a whole lot more variety.

This led me on a quest to find the strangest and most bizarre candies that we can find in the world. Then it hit me. Where better to start than Japan, land of used-panties vending machines, Pokemon and inappropriate game shows?

I headed over to Dondondonki to suss my options, and was introduced to the world of miniature DIY candies.

This is my review of weirdest ones I could find.

My haul from Dondondonki
My haul from Dondondonki
All of the packaging was entirely in Japanese, including the instructions. Thankfully, I spent three years of my Polytechnic education picking up the language. Back then, I was known to my fellow Japanophile classmates as Shaun-San.

This will be a walk in the park.

To ease your reading experience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the names of each product that I will be reviewing.

You’re welcome.

1. Super Amazing Colours Banana BLASTOFF!
I started out with “Super Amazing Colours Banana BLASTOFF!” as it seemed like it was the easiest thing to make.

It’s basically a candy that’s meant to look like a frozen banana.

Inside the colourful packaging which almost triggered an epilepsy episode for me, I found cylinder-shaped banana gummies, along with a chocolate paste and candied sprinkles.

All I had to do was to coat the gummy with the chocolate and roll it around the sprinkles.

I shoved the whole thing in my mouth and it tasted exactly like what I expected: Cheap candy coated with cheap chocolate.

I’ve had expired chocolate found under my bed that excited my taste buds more, but I realised that this is supposed to be a novelty item. The joy was to be derived from the making process, which was mind numbingly easy.

Moving on.

2. Kawaii Mr. Meow Reach Into Pocket Cake!

The next item was literally a piece of cake.

“Kawaii Mr. Meow Reach Into Pocket Cake” featured every child’s favourite cartoon character, Doraemon, as an edible sponge cake with chocolate syrup poured over his face.

Inside the packaging, there was a mould of Doraemon’s face, batter, and chocolate sauce.

I read the instructions and found out that I had to use milk and oil, items that were not included in the packaging.

Thankfully, I had both items at home, but that didn’t stop me from being irritated at being misled. I’m sure that many people have bought “Kawaii Mr. Meow Reach Into Pocket Cake” thinking that everything that they’d need would be in there, only to be disappointed with a sub-par final product.

That being said, I followed the instructions and dabbed some cooking oil to ensure that the cake would not stick to the mould after a minute of cooking in the microwave.

Some chocolate sauce garnishing later, I got my final product.

I was thoroughly amazed at how good the cake tasted, but was let down by the cheap-tasting chocolate once again. The accurate portrayal of Doraemon’s face did give me a sense of accomplishment, and I guess this is as important as the taste of the cake.

Japanese candy companies really need to up their chocolate game though.

3. Super Adorable Animal Babies Ice-Cream KA-RA-TE!!

No one on earth is impervious to the charms of cute little animals, and I am no different.

This was evident at the speed with which I picked up “Super Adorable Animal Babies Ice-Cream KA-RA-TE!!” and put it into the shopping cart.

How can anyone resist candied ice-cream in the shape of tiny animals?

All I had to do for this one was to mix sachets of powdered sugar and gelatine with water and pop it in the freezer for half an hour. Easy, right?

However, the product was clearly made to be eaten in the cool Japanese climate (well, at least not like it is now) as you watch cherry blossoms descend from the trees onto your picnic mat.

In the 20 seconds that it took me to remove the sherbet-candy hybrids from their moulds, they started to lose their form due to the heat and humidity that we’re all so accustomed to.

By the time I got it to my dining room table and tried to snap a photo, it looked like this:

To make matters worse, the taste was reminiscent of stale agar agar that one might find in their freezer.

I couldn’t even stomach eating more than one of these “Super Adorable Animal Babies”.

4. Excellent Boom Boom Blueberry Surprise!
No lunch would be complete without a beverage, and true enough, there was a candy that came in liquid form that you get to suck through a straw. Sounds gross? Well, the taste was actually pretty great.

I mixed water with the blueberry-flavoured powder that came in the packaging, and shook it vigorously like one of those bubble-tea dolls that you used to see at Pasar Malams.

What I got was a gelatinous substance in dark blue, which I then had to mix with the packet of red powder that came with the packaging, and then some more water.

Alright, this is where I need to be honest with you.

I don’t actually speak any Japanese.

In fact, the most Japanese I know is “IRRASHAIMASE”, and only because the staff at Genki Sushi insist on screaming it whenever I show up for my dose of seared salmon belly.

Because of my lack of understanding of the Japanese language, I failed to see that the the red powder was labelled, “Sodium Bicarbonate”, which for those who failed O-Level Chemistry, gives carbonated drinks the fizz that they have.

As I covered the cup with the lid and started shaking it like a seasoned bartender preparing an Old-Fashioned, I noticed that the mixture had begun foaming. Regardless, I continued shaking it harder than before.

In a matter of seconds, the cup exploded with an audible bang and I let out the girliest of screams.

It was like a crime scene in CSI: Special Victims Unit.

This is what happens when the only Japanese you can confidently recite is the lyrics to the Styx classic, Mr Roboto.

I move on to the final product.

5. Ultimate Tea Snack Hadouken Power!!!
Yes, I’m sticking with the fake names.

There was a total of 5 packets, and this was definitely beyond my skill level. Thus, I sought the help of Youtube to make this version of mini dangos.

Making “Ultimate Tea Snack Hadouken Power” involved so many intricate steps and instructions that I felt I was making a Kaiseki meal for myself, except it was mostly made of flour and tasted like crap.

The draw in “Ultimate Tea Snack Hadouken Power” was obviously in its aesthetics, and it took me close to an hour of mixing and moulding with my hands to give my best interpretation of dish.

This was how it was supposed to look like:

This was how mine turned out:

Not too bad, right?

I was pretty proud, but couldn’t stomach putting it in my mouth as it had an artificial smell to it. The red bean paste was equally as bad as it felt and tasted like rubber.

As I looked at all the miniature candy I had painstakingly crafted over the past three hours, I realised that I had found the real answer to why Japanese people are known to live long, healthy lives well into their nineties.

It isn’t the fresh fish they catch by the ocean daily, nor is it the morning stretches they do before work every morning, or the amount of green tea that they drink.

Rather, It is the lengths they go to to avoid eating real food. This is what keeps them so trim and lean.

Assuming the Japanese start their lunch hour trying to prepare a portion of “Ultimate Tea Snack Hadouken Power!!!”, they would barely have enough time to put a finished piece of candy in their mouth.

I started writing this piece thinking that it would just be a boring review of candy, but now I’ve unlocked the secret to living a long and fruitful life, and there’s only one person to thank.

Domo Arrigato, Mr. Roboto.


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Shaun Tan Staff writer