Japanese Snackfood Review: Hiyashuwa Ramune

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This week’s particular venture was chosen by the store clerk at Wizzywig; the onus is on her. She said that they were the hard candy version of a soft drink (Ramune) although I’m not sure if there are four different soft drinks represented in the four different candies or whether they are more of a “if soft drinks could come in these flavors, this is what they would taste like as tasted through hard candy” type of thing. As always, I can not read Japanese so I (and you who also can not read Japanese) may never know. I do know that these fellas came in four different flavors, which we have labeled Blue, Clear, Yellow and Green because they were packaged in blue, clear, yellow and green wrappers. Clever, aren’t we? OK, moving on!

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Blue

These were universally the least favorite of all the candies. One guinea pig was quoted as saying “The good part is the flavor fades” and well, there was general agreement on that statement. Another guinea pig was heard to have exclaimed “Oh my GOD! The flavor is intense” and I’d have to say that of all the Ramune candy, the blue is the most flavorful. However. The intense flavor is a sour/eucalyptus/menthol thing gone horribly wrong. My tongue is tingling from the taste of this critter (I’m reverifying the notes) and my mouth is watering from the sour but my breath is mentholaty cool. Actually, and don’t tell anyone, I don’t mind these so much. Either that or I’m getting used to Japanese candy. It’s been a while since I’ve tasted the blue Halls cough drops but from what I can remember, these are a pretty close match. The one thing everyone agreed on was that the blue Ramune tasted a lot like a cough drop. The blue are also a tad on the bitey side so watch your tongue when eating them.

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Clear

My clear looked like some sort of weird eyeball. Not very auspicious. I have another clear here and it does not resemble some freaky alien eyeball candy at all, so I guess I was just lucky. What they are about is a whitish hard candy with a blobbit of green hard candy mixed together (and in my case, mixing to look like an eyeball). They are also very bumpy on the outside which…ouch! Lots of little nubs of hard candy is never a good idea and until you can suck them off, this fella is painfully pointy! The hard candy is nice and smooth, so if you haven’t cut the beegeebus out of your mouth from those little nubbly nubs of candy blobbits, you probably wont once they are gone. You might also begin to focus on the flavor, rather than avoiding lacerations, and you would find a nice, mellow sweet candy with a gentle apple flavor. I think the white candy is a sweet general candy base (sweet, with a hint of generic citrus) and the green candy is what’s apple about these fellas. I liked them, the other guinea pigs were satisfied with them, no one outright hated them, thumbs up!

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Yellow

One guinea pig described these as “Plain bubblegum with a hint of lemon” but I would describe it as “What the-bleah! No, wait…ok that was bad but now we’ve got a mediocre sort of tart sweet thing going on. It’s not really great, but it beats the heck out of the initial taste. Glah.” Yeah, I was really not so fond of the initial flavor because it reminded me a whole lot of artificial banana and I HATE artificial banana. Weirdly, that repulsivity only sticks around for the first half minute or so…like maybe there is a fake banana coating before the real flavor. Who knows. I do know that I was totally zero pea-ing this baby until it calmed down and became something that was drastically less banana-stro turf and something that was mildly sweet with a hint of benign citrus (grapefruit?) and the occasional “WOAH! That was tart!!!” Also, these puppies get some pea points for construction for they have these strange round blue doodad things imbedded in the base translucent hard candy. I think the blue dots might be small sweet tart sort of things and that’s where the candy is getting the intense tangy tart that occasionally rears its head. That’s cool, plus peas for that. All together, it’s not so bad after the initial evil and the blue whatsits are amusing.

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Green

It went zip when it moved and pop when it stopped, whir when it stood still…OK no but this was the funnest of all the candies because it was fizzy!. Hee! It was like the bastard child of Pop Rocks and Dum-Dums, a solid hard candy that fizzed as you sucked on it. Unfortunately, it made the candy a bit rough and I wound up scraping my mouth up a bit but I was willing to sacrifice a few (hundred) skin cells for the enjoyment of fizzy. The taste wasn’t half bad either, they were intensely tarty, almost like the tart wanted to compete with the fizz. Tasty. Oddly, the guinea pigs were split on the like vs. dislike of this one. Meh, not everyone is amused by tart and fizzy as I am.

In conclusion, for a Japanese hard candy these were damned good but to an American palate they ranged from a 2 pea to perhaps a 4 pea. They did a pretty good job of being the candy version of Ramune soda so, going with the law of averages and the fact that they remained true to the parent source, I give Hiyashuwa Ramune a

Rating

of 3 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

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