Japanese Snack Food Review: Kasugai Litchi Candy

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Hey you JSF junkies, welcome to the 2007 edition of the JSFR…back from hiatus and back posting like a mad thing. I have a couple of amusing admin notes about today’s item d’review, the first is that I didn’t (exactly) pick this one out. It was my bonus “I need to get my order up to $10 in order to use my credit card” candy purchase at Hua Xing, so I tried to get the cashier to randomly snag a bag of candy from the formidable wall of packaged goodies behind her. Sadly, she wasn’t 100% proficient in English, exceedingly polite and I have a habit of confusing the ever loving beegeebus out of non native English speakers. Ergo, she was mightily hesitant to just randomly grab me a bag of candy even though I told her it was absolutely fine by me. We had a go around of yes, no, yes, no until I vaguely gestured towards the center mass of the bagged goodies wall and agreed with whatever she pointed at that she thought I was selecting.

Admin point number two is…huh. I guess there really isn’t any admin point number two after a bit of Google adventuring. I was going to poke fun of the spelling of Litchi versus Lychee but according to the ever malleable Wikipedia entry, Litchi is the alternate US FDA spelling of Lychee. And here I was going to make a funny about how these candies sound like they might be some sort of power hungry undead fruit candy but alas. That’s just like the government to suck the fun out of things.

So candy. According to my favorite Guinea Pig, who went to China during Lychee/Litchi season and ate Lychee/Litchi fruit every morning, noon, and night for a week or two weeks or however long he was there, this candy is an excellent representation of Lychee/Litchi as told in hard candy form. I’ve never had a fresh Lychee/Litchi fruit (although I may have had a dried one once) so I can’t say from similarities. I can say that the taste is sweet, tart, has an apply undertone with something that is more fruit punch-y (but a nice fruit punch) in the forefront. If that’s Lychee/Litchi then I guess this candy does the fruit proud. Sadly, there is also a very faint chemical taste in there too, which I’m fairly sure the fruit does not have. Unless it was crop dusted and never washed. Then I guess Litchi candy would be golden.

Minus pea points for chemicalness, plus pea points for getting the fruit flavor down.

Most of my other Guinea Pigs weren’t overly familiar with Lychee/Litchi as a fruit flavoring and most of them were pretty “meh” on the whole deal. They didn’t mind getting a free piece of candy to try, but I don’t think they are lining up to go stock their cupboards with Litchi Candy either. Overall, I think the response was “Thanks. It was fruity and OK.” I’d say that’s a pretty 2.5 pea reaction right there.

The hard candy part of the candy is nicely smooth and although there seem to be some small air pocket inclusions, they aren’t feeling the need to lacerate my tongue. I propose that the Japanese hard candy folks and the US hard candy folks sit down and have a powwow because a lot of US hard candy could benefit from this technique of creating candy that won’t shred your tongue while the Japanese folks could use some pointers on what not to make into a hard candy. Plus pea points for a smooth hard candy base.

Adding and subtracting and doing all that non Euclidean JSFR math, I’d say Kasugai’s Litchi candy can squeak out a 3 pea rating for nailing the flavor and putting it in a good hard candy. However, going by most of my polled Pig’s general unimpressed reaction to said candy, it would have to be a really tenuous

Rating

of 3 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

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