Japanese Snack Food Review: Kasugai

Kasugai.jpg

Again, I apologize if I have mislabeled this…”Kasugai” was what appeared to be the name of the candy as best as I could figure it out. Sometimes there isn’t a lot of English on the packaging (and oddly enough, the more interesting looking a snack food is, the less English there seems to be associated with it. Hmmmm!). Hey, and for only the second time ever the JSFR is featuring a hard candy.

If you remember the Nama Ume Ame, you will remember that the arrival of hard candy to the Review was mighty Luke warm at best. In the Words of Rob “Well, that’s Japanese hard candy for you. Nasty Shit.” but I saw these fellas at Hillers and decided to pick them up. They looked pretty harmless in a “might be chocolate or maybe black tea or possibly some nutty thing, all of which I could deal with” sort of way so I grabbed them. We tested them out on the Smithee watching crowd and got some interesting reactions.

First off, this is what they look like (the candy, not the Smithee crowd):

Kasugai_Candy.jpg

Pretty darned cool that. Don’t be frightened by those cracks and crags along the edges; one of the nice qualities of this candy is that the sugar is very smooth so there were few sharp tongue slicing edges. This candy had several nice qualities, actually, but it really depended on the participants taste. Unlike the Name Ume Ame, about half of the people who tried it were utterly delighted by the flavor while the other half were really rather “meh”.

As best as I can describe the flavor, burnt comes to mind first and then molasses. Other people remarked that the Kasugai tasted like caramelized sugar but everyone pretty much universally agreed that there was a toasty taste to the flavor that was reminiscent of burnt sugar. They were smooth though and not bitey in flavor (more like a nice molasses cookie taste rather than a black strap molasses taste) which was rather nice. I was not so much into the burnt taste of them. They also did not have a surprise center which is a huge bonus, at least if you take the Nama Ume Ama as a representative of filled candy.

TheMan, however, thought that Kasugai were the bomb. He wants you all to know he gave it a solid 5 Wasabi Peas rating and thinks it got robbed. Much like Pirates (I added that). One other person of the Smithee crowd liked them as well as TheMan did and Scott said they were “not terrible” but he hates hard candy so that might be a ringing endorsement. He wouldn’t commit one way or another. TheMan also wants you to know that the guys at the office all thought these candies were pretty darned tasty so about 3/5th of the total people polled thought well of Kasugai.

I think if you relate Kasugai to horehound or sassafras you might get a better understanding of the flavor dilemma. If you like a burnt caramelized molasses taste then you will like these candies. If it’s not your bag, well these candies aren’t bad really but there are plenty of other fish in the sea (and I’d eat Kasugai over Nama Ume Ame any day of the week, believe you me). Given the fact that more than half of the people polled would give Kasugai a 2.5 to 3 rating while the less than half thought it was extremely good, I’m going to split the difference and go with a

Rating

of 3.5 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

One Response to “Japanese Snack Food Review: Kasugai”

  1. TheMan Says:

    So totally robbed…

    *sniff*

    BTW, a nifty way to enjoy these is to dissolve them in a cup of hot coffee instead of using sugar. There’s just a hint of molasses taste. Mmmmm….