If Kaga eat whole green peppers I assume he would enjoy the "Cookie Hamburger Fudge Things".Japan is the land of wind and ghosts, of Hentai games and enema omelets, and most relevant to this article it is the land of slightly unnerving snack foods. Peter from J-List has done me the honor of sending some "tasty treats" across the Pacific for my review purposes and I am happy to inform you, and in some cases warn you, about what's cookin' in Japan. Keep in mind that these aren't delicacies like truffle and Homard Lobster served with caviar, these are just run of the mill snack items that you could probably pick up at a gas station in Japan. Well, maybe not at a gas station as we know them. In Japan a gas station consists of a tunnel covered with blinking lights and anime characters where you slide your credit card into a cartoon penguin that shoots gasoline and treats out of its eyes.
Let's proceed to part one of the smorgasbord since I already have a stomach ache from eating all of this frigging chocolate and weird marshmallow crud.
"Cookie Hamburger Fudge Things" (English Name Unknown)
Click the image for an enlarged view of the delicious product.Packaging: There is almost no English text on the packaging other than the words "Every Burger". The way in which giant hamburgers seems to be floating ominously down a sidewalk while a distressed bear creature in a chef hat gestures and exclaims certainly had me on edge before I even opened the box. Inside is another picture of the bear chef being further menaced by the giant hamburgers along with two individually wrapped silver packages not unlike soft Pop Tarts.
Aroma: Chocolate cake and nail polish.
Texture: Molten gobs of thick chocolate sludge (it's like 90 in Chicago right now) adhering to tiny vaguely hamburger-shaped hard cookies with seeds or bug eggs all over the top. One of the cookies had decompiled itself and had some weird smear of what looks like bird shit on it.
Flavor: Fudge syrup by way of bad and slightly soggy tiny cookies. This was actually a pleasant surprise because I was expecting some sort of weird Japanese meat or shrink-rayed whole hamburgers.
Review: Not bad I guess, pretty much like a chocolate sandwich cookie here in the United States only with more chocolate and a hamburger gimmick. I have to admit I was a little disturbed by the smears of white crap inside the hamburgers as I'm not really sure what they're supposed to represent. Cheese? Mayonnaise? Do Japanese people put marshmallows on hamburgers or was there a crazed bird loose in the factory?
3 out of 5
Gravel ChocoClick the image for an enlarged view of the delicious product.Packaging: The package for Gravel Choco reads in English "Watch out! Try to eat!! It's nice, isn't it!?" and I must say that a candy that warns with "Watch out!" is not necessarily off to a good start. The name of the candy itself implies that it's chocolate that resembles gravel or a combination of gravel and chocolate, neither of which would surprise me. I'm pretty ignorant of human physiology but if I know anything I know that Japanese people all have gizzards and have to eat rocks to digest their food. Possibly this is a sweet-tasting Japanese equivalent of Metamucil.
Aroma: A car's gas tank full of bubblegum.
Texture: Each piece looks more like giant oddly colored Nerds candy than gravel but comes in a variety of more gravel-like colors. Possibly because of the heat these candies were easily crushed between thumb and index finger, resulting in a very thin chitin shell and a weird and totally un-chocolate like white paste. The paste was warm, again possibly because of the heat here, but also possibly because these things are alive.
Flavor: An interesting blend of sugar-flavored toothpaste and Bazooka gum flavoring or some kooky artificial banana flavor. Much as I had suspected after analyzing Gravel Choco's texture there is not a goddamn hint of chocolate. Maybe I got the "creepy white bubblegum paste" flavor on accident, but the other package I have clearly says "Ikoi Strawberry" is the flavor.
Review: Good god, I knew people in Japan had different tastes than people in the United States but this is truly some repulsive garbage. It's not even the good kind of repulsive either, where it's funny-tasting just because you aren't used to the exotic flavor of Daikon Seaweed wraps. It's like an accident in the lab at the candy factory somehow made it into production. I recognize all of the tastes in this travesty, but it's like eating a Peanut Butter and mayonnaise sandwich; they just don't work at all. Maybe the "Ikoi Strawberry" flavor tastes better.
1 out of 5
Gravel Choco - Ikoi Strawberry FlavorClick the image for an enlarged view of the delicious product.Packaging: Almost identical to the regular disgusting flavor only the package is red and has "Ikoi Strawberry" beneath the warning label about watching out.
Aroma: A crate of freshly picked rancid strawberry flavored yogurt.
Texture: Exactly the same as the regular flavor only the weird paste inside of them was bright pink in color. Flavor: Amazingly, the flavor of the strawberry is pretty similar to strawberry taffy or something like that with a salty hint not unlike Reese's Pieces. The pieces don't taste like real strawberries, but the simple fact that the taste of the candy matched the flavor of the candy on the package earns it bonus points.
Review: I kind of like this stuff. I'm not a big strawberry candy person but it has a creamy flavor that grows on you and the crunchy gravel shell makes it very similar to a strawberry M&M or something like that. I'm still finding the whole "Choco" concept mysterious to my American and European chocolate experiences since this doesn't taste like it has even a hint of chocolate in it.
4 out of 5
Gummi ChocoClick the image for an enlarged view of the delicious product.Packaging: Of all of the various Japanese wacky snack packaging I received I would have to say that Gummi Choco most closely resembles a Western candy box. It looks sort of like one of those Sugar Baby boxes you can get at a gas station, but it features cartoon strawberries that appear to be very concerned about something. It also shows cut-aways of what I hope are the actual candy inside the box.
Aroma: A berry perfumed wax museum.
Texture: A malleable but not very messy chocolate covers each spherical Gummi Choco and by depressing the chocolate I can tell that a gummi core waits beneath the chocolate hemispheres. The chocolate is slightly oily on the surface and when you squeeze a Gummi Choco it takes several seconds for it to return to roughly its previous shape.
Flavor: The Choco component is the outer casing for the high-tech Gummi Choco and therefore what you taste first; a salty and creamy chocolate that does at least taste somewhat like chocolate. Wrapped around the gummi and serving as a buffer between its core and the chocolate crust is a mantle composed of a strange spongy white cake of some sort. It seems to be flavorless and may even be marshmallow. The gummi is the last thing you taste and it seems to be made out of moistened owl pellets. I'm a big fan of gummi candy but this lacks the consistency of any gummi candy I've had before and has a faint chemical aftertaste. It may be all natural for all I know but if it is they must be the kind of strawberries that grow in a cauldron of thalidomide and human blood.
Review: Boooo. I really thought that this one would float my boat. I enjoy gummi candies, I enjoy chocolate, and I really like those pieces of dried fruit you get at Starbucks that have a yogurt coating. I figured however they made this candy it would come out quite good. The chocolate was pretty decent, a little oily, but where they lost me was on that fucking white crap they seem to enjoy sticking in all the candy. This mystery substance that may be marshmallow or may be the distilled ether of human torment is not offset at all by the weird artificial taste and unpleasant texture of the gummi in the center.
1 out of 5
NOTIME GumClick the image for an enlarged view of the delicious product.Packaging: The entire nation of Japan is sort of like New York City in that every single person is always in a hurry, especially when buildings are exploding. In that crazy workaday world the stressed out salary man might not have the time to brush his teeth, so enter "NOTIME" gum. This simple blue and white package of gum contains eight individually wrapped pieces of chewing gum with a toothbrush logo that can only mean magically clean teeth.
Aroma: Mint and enriched uranium.
Texture: The consistency of the gum would lead one to believe that this confection has more in common with the molar-sticking "Now and Later" of America than soft chewing gum. It's hard, very hard, and smooth like a "Now and Later" but coated with a fine white powder like most gum tends to be.
Flavor: NOTIME softens up quickly in your mouth and tastes basically like your average hunk of mint flavored chewing gum. Each hunk of breath freshening goodness is pretty big allowing you to blow decent-sized bubbles of Far Eastern splendor. However, and a fairly big however, the gum suffers from the "mystery additive" syndrome that a lot of Western gums do. What tasted like mint in the first few seconds of chewing starts to taste like mint with a side of smashed up aspirin tablets. Whether this is purely a flavoring botch job or has something to do with the teeth-cleaning aspect of the gum is unknowable thanks to the lack of English text on the package.
Review: It doesn't take a lot to please me with gum. I'm a simple man who just likes a strong and long lasting flavor without the image of chewing up pills of Tylenol or something. NOTIME fails in the pill-imagery category and I rated it down accordingly. This odd flavor is not overpowering but it's enough to make me never want a piece again.
2 out of 5
Black Black GumClick the image for an enlarged view of the delicious product.Packaging: Bringing you "High Technical Excellent Taste and Flavor" Black Black claims to have a "Long Live[sic]". The packaging is suitably dour for a gum with the word "black" in its name twice, combing grey and black with lots of great Engrish phrases. Inside the package are nine sticks of the gum, each wrapped in foil and a black paper sheath. I think the reason Black Black claims to be "high technical" is that it incorporates caffeine into the gum, although I'm not 100% certain on that factor.
Aroma: Mint and compressed insect parts.
Texture: Just your completely average stick gum. Gritty texture accented by that white powder they put on everything gum-like.
Flavor: Black Black tastes somewhat minty but it has several other very strong flavors that are difficult to identify. One seems to be the caffeine, or whatever they're using to conceal the caffeine, that gives it an unpleasant bitter flavor. There is also some other tangy flavor worked in there that is really fucking nasty. I'm not sure what it is, maybe mulched human fetuses or bear bile or something, but it's probably the most vile taste in any of these things.
Review: Supposedly Black Black is popular, which is really horrifying to me for some reason. I realize that a lot of things are acquired tastes including coffee which Black Black would ostensibly be a substitute for, but this is just awful. Easily the worst of the bunch I've sampled for today and a depressing way to end my reviews.
1 out of 5
You might think that's a lot of throbbing snack to gobble, but Monday I've got a whole new batch of snack foods from Japan including mysterious sushi candy and corn on the cob flavored pretzels. Plus as an added bonus to you our valued reader I take a look at Gundam Wing and Titanic themed condoms from Japan. I may or may not end up vomiting into a sink!
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