Japanese Snack Food Review: Kokuto Caramel

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Yes, I know. I always take a pic of the snack food with the powerbook soas y’all can get a good approximation of the size of the beastie but today’s JSF is a tad different. Notice the pic and if you, like me, can not read Japanese then I would like you to answer one question for me.

What it is?

No really, what will you be getting in this brown box of foreign scribbles (which really is a written language and I apologize to all you Japanese for being an insensitive American because to me your writing, while cool, has me very perplexed. I have a lot of trouble telling one character from another. Well, not when they are all together like that, but say tomorrow if I see something with that top and left most squiggly fella on it I will never say to myself “Hey! That’s the same squiggly fella that was on the box of brown JSF!” I will most likely say “Huh! I wonder what sideways little square man peeing means” even though I already said that to myself today AND I will not make the connection. At all. There are only about 7 Japanese characters I can repeatedly recognize and they all are some part of a martial art like Ai-ki-do (three!) and kara-te-do (three – no wait two because do is do in both) and noh, which isn’t part of any martial art but for some reason it stuck in my head. Sideways square man peeing isn’t one of my seven so he’s not about to stick in my head and that’s just how I am. Sorry that). I mean…there is absolutely nothing about this pic that clues me in to what might be inside it.

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And not on the back either.

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Or the sides.

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Not even on the top or bottom.

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The ingredients, which are on the outer wrapper by the way, give me some clue in that it says “caramel” in and among the top description but it also says M-30 and…what’s an M-30? A little less destructive than an M-80? It has corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk in the ingredients but again…hard candy? Toffee? Caramel? Dunno!

And that’s totally why I bought them. Mystery JSF! Shaking the box didn’t even give me a clue, other than there were several somethings in there and they weren’t M&Mesque in their shifting. It still could be explosive caramels for all I knew and that sort of thing is guaranteed to amuse me.

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They are, as it turns out, caramels. They even have those weird parallel tracks across the tops like Kraft caramels do…I wonder if that’s something that transcends the caramel borders. The universal caramel brotherhood bond or maybe it’s some sort of caramel gang tattoo that distinguishes them from taffy. Or it could be something universally constant in the process of making caramel but I’m all about the anthropomorphizing today…or the caramelthropomorphizing if you will. Anyhow, they are a little flatter and a little bigger than your standard Kraft caramel (or any other cubit cubed caramel really) but they are the same color and the same squooshiness. In all outward appearances, they are caramels.

They even have the same smooth caramel texture and a caramelly taste but they also have an added bonus feature. Molasses! It’s not listed in the ingredients but there is a distinct smoky molasses taste which…is really quite good. If you could caramelize warm tasty molasses cookies (the good kind like my mom would make on a cold crisp autumn day and then bring still warm to the football games along with some spiced hot apple cider. THOSE kind of molasses cookies) these would totally be what you would get. Sure the molasses taste in a caramel is unexpected but I rather enjoyed it. All my Guinea Pigs liked them as well so I’m going to give these a

Rating

of 4.5 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

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