Candy by Region

January 27, 2009 at 10:53 am Leave a comment

Morinaga, a major brand in Japan, produces different flavors of soft Hi-Chew candy — kinda like Starburst fruit chews — for different areas of the country, based on what type of fruit grows there. Each location has something special to offer that you can’t find anywhere else, just like with the Hello Kitty charms that Himawari loves.

If you live in Tohoku (which means “northeast”), for example, you get to enjoy pear-flavored Hi-Chew, because Yamagata Prefecture in that region produces a large amount of Japan’s La France pears. If you live in Kyushu (the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands), the same type of candy comes in limited-edition Dekopon flavor. Dekopons are large, seedless, sweet oranges with a funny shape: a large bump on top.

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Because you can’t enjoy either of these treats unless you travel to Tohoku or Kyushu, they make excellent souvenirs. Visitors collect them and take them home for bragging rights. Besides, who needs real fruit? Actual La France pears are expensive these days: $5-6 dollars each. Pear Hi-Chew lasts longer, provides more bang for your buck, and tastes delicious.

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Tohoku also carries zunda flavor Kit-Kats from Nestle. At first, these threw me for a loop. I was scared that the picture on the box was wasabi (maybe I need better glasses), but it’s really sweetened, mashed edamame beans. They’re creamy, almost like white chocolate! I highly recommend these Kit Kats, if for no other reason than to say you’ve tried them, but you might have to become penpals with someone from Tohoku in order to get some.

Sarah S.

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