Japanese Snack Food Review: Kabaya Kisyu Ume

Heh, guess what? We got Pretz wars! Brilliant! Although, I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later because everyone wants in on a good thing. Besides – other companies (in other countries even!) have been jumping on the Pocky bandwagon, it would stand to reason that the Pretz wagon would soon follow suit. And so it has, but not yet internationally. Kabaya is a Japanese company Pretz competitor producing, of all things, plum Pretz, possibly pickled plum Pretz but don’t take my word on that. My Googling of “Kisyu” turned up a whole lot of nothing save one badly translated page which talked about pickled plums (and cormorant fishing so…).

I have to say that so far plum as done-to Japanese style is really not my thing. Well save plum wine. That I can stand behind. The rest…well perhaps I do not have the palate to appreciate the finer art of pluming. The last time we met plum in the JSFR it was salted plum and wrapped in a hard candy called Nama Ume Ame. It did not get favorable reviews from my pretty much exclusively American Guinea Pigs. I haven’t diversified my Guinea Pig pool overly since then so I was a bit trepidatious about foisting more Japanese styled plum snacks on them. However, we were talking Pretz(ish), which have a pretty good track record and plums as plums aren’t too bad. Conceivably this could be the golden age of plum no?

In a word, no. I think everyone was amused about the non-Glico Pretz-like entities and expected a rather sweetie Pretz. What we got was…just…OK, they are crunchy. I think we all agreed on that point. They also have the oddest smell to them, one that is incredibly perfumy strong and smells of plums gone slightly off. Or maybe pickled which to me would be a plum gone slightly off. I think the best thing to come out of these Pretz-like entities was the reaction of all the Guinea Pigs when they first tried the Kisyu Ume. The smell raised a lot of eyebrows but the taste is what did it in. Kisyu Ume taste very salty (but not in that happy snacky salty way) with a good wash of sour plum. Nasty sour plum. A sour salty plum that must be an acquired taste if someone somewhere who is not us enjoys them. I’d say that every Guinea Pig had a strong if not violent reaction to salty pickled plum and none of them were positive.

It could be that we culturally do not “get” salty pickled plum but personally, I’m OK with that. I think most of my other Guinea Pigs are also OK with that particular lack in their international cuisine tastes. If we never have another salty pickled plum in our lives, I think we shall all die happy. That said, I’m giving half a pea point for crunchy, and a quarter pea point more for the Pretz war amusement but minus a whole pack of American Pea points for salty pickled plum nasty taste. If you aren’t conditioned to like pickled plum, I’m not sure you could have enough sake before you passed out to even make these enjoyable. Ergo the half plus pea points boils down to a fairly high but still abysmal

Rating of 0.5 wasabi peas out of 5.

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