Friday, September 25, 2009

Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy

A Few HiCHEWI’ve been on a HiCHEW spree lately. Partly because Morinaga went on a binge and released about a dozen flavors. Besides their traditional array of 6 or 7 standard flavors they have another half a dozen single flavor packs out.

HiCHEW is one of those rare Japanese candies that’s being distributed around the world. Here in Los Angeles, I can get Lemon, Mango, Strawberry or Green Apple HiCHEWs at just about any 7-11 or Cost Plus World Market. But the limited edition flavors, the seasonal and the specialty assortments are a little harder to come by and require either an order directly from Japan (I’ve been using JBox and Asian Food Grocer) or a visit to Little Tokyo to Marukai Market, Mitsuwa Marketplace or Nijiya Market.

Today I have the two from the Summer Festival (Matsuri) line: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy. (I don’t know if there were more than these two ... maybe a Kettle Corn or Deep Fried Butter version escaped my view.)

Candied Apple HiCHEW

The packages are compact, they have only 7 pieces in them instead of the longer packs that have 10. Even without knowing Japanese the packages are bold and easy to understand. There’s a little picture of a man selling candied apples with some stylized fireworks above him. Then of course the big candied apple (which seems to be dipped upside down to the way I’ve always had them, the stem is a the top, not where the stick enters the apple).

On the side of the package is the little diagram of what the candy looks like. A pink outside and white core with little flecks of what I’m guessing are the candied coating bits.

It smells softly sweet, a little like milk tea. Biting into it there’s an immediate apple juice flavor then a background of sweet sugar.

The little flecks are sparkly crunches of sugar. I couldn’t quite get an actual flavor from them. It becomes quite juicy. The texture is quite smooth except for the crunches.

I don’t think I’ve had a candied apple in over 15 years, so I can’t say for sure that this is an authentic representation contained within a 1 inch by 1/2 inch block. But it was still fun.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Cotton Candy HiCHEW

Cotton Candy HiCHEW smells simply like sweet. Pretty much the same as the Candied Apple.

It’s sweet, but not sticky sweet or cloying. It’s simply fresh. Not quite vanilla, which can be a little boozy and not quite a toasted sugar flavor either. It’s creamy without being milky. It’s clean without being flavorless. It’s a mystery wrapped in foil and stuffed with little crunchy bits.

The combination of the texture of the HiCHEW which is a taffy/gummi product that’s at once bouncy and smooth and the little cotton candy grainy bits is odd. Really nicely done cotton candy always has these little bits of grain where either the sugar didn’t melt & reform properly or moisture has caused it to recombine into a hard candy bit. Yes, it’s grainy, but the grains give way to soft sugar flavors.

It’s like cotton candy in all the right ways. And it leaves out the sticky paper cone.

It’s just so hard to describe that all I can say is that after I took the photos of the first pack I got from JBox, I made sure to pick up two more packs when I saw them in Little Tokyo.

It’s difficult to say but this is the best colorless and flavorless candy I’ve ever had. How do the Japanese do it? (I’m also still obsessed with the Juntsuyu I wrote about several years ago and add it to my order at JBoxevery time.)

Rating: 10 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. HiCHEW Aloe Yogurt
  2. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  3. Skittles Carnival Flavors
  4. HiCHEW Assortment
  5. Hard Candy: Juntsuyu
Name: HiCHEW Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: JBox & Marukai Market
Price: $1.25
Size: 1.16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Chew, Japan, Morinaga, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:57 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Synesthesia's avatar

    yum, these sound awesome!  i gotta check the asian market near where i live…i managed to find the dragon fruit and blood orange hi-chews there, along with a bunch of regular flavors.  hopefully they have these because I don’t want to order from J-Box…its too dangerous for me…i made a cart there and it came to over 100 bucks and then of course shipping…

    Comment by Synesthesia on 9/25/09 at 11:52 am #
  2. Wow, those both sound good. I’ve seen a lot of the apple, but I have yet to see the cotton candy. I hope it’s not sold out.

    Have you tasted any difference between the US and Japanese Hi-Chews? I found the US marketed ones to be harder and kind of chemically, but maybe it was just a bad batch.

    Comment by Pocky Watch on 9/25/09 at 4:32 pm #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    Pocky Watch - As you can see in the first photo, I have some of the “for export” HiCHEW, which have English labels and are made in Taiwan. I have some other made in Japan HiCHEW that are individually wrapped to compare them to (though sometimes I admit packaging does influence taste but usually texture). I’ll try to cover that in the next little roundup.

    Synesthesia - there’s a LOT of stuff on JBox right now, I could definitely run up a tab. They’re doing pre-orders on the new KitKat flavors. I have some of the dragonfruit for review too! Something else called CamuCamu, too.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/25/09 at 4:36 pm #
  4. Your review is inspiring me to hop on the subway to the Japanese markets over in the East Village (NYC). Our HiChew selection in my neighborhood is too pathetic! I’d love to try the cotton candy.

    Comment by Samira Kawash on 9/26/09 at 4:42 am #
  5. This candy lookes like yammyy smile

    Comment by JJ on 9/26/09 at 4:58 am #
  6. I tried Juntsuyu from Jbox based on your recommendation. They’re lovely, and I was struck by how the dark-coloured ones tasted exactly like Nestea iced tea to me, while the light-coloured ones tasted EXACTLY like real, light maple syrup. The light ones went first - my partner and I are Canadian and maple syrup flavour is always a hit.

    Anyway, if the cotton candy chews are as wonderful as Juntsuyu I’ll be a happy camper!

    Comment by chops on 9/26/09 at 7:00 pm #
  7. I picked up some Durian flavored Hi-chews today. They were really good without the stinkiness of the fruit. Have you come across those?

    Comment by Emily on 9/27/09 at 1:27 am #
  8. The Blood Orange flavor was my favorite this summer!! I can always get the Lemon flavor at World Market, but we have a favorite market in Santa Rosa, CA that carries more flavors (if they haven’t sold out). It’s a 4 hour drive from here, so we only go every few months and stock up!

    Comment by Marilyn on 9/27/09 at 5:54 am #
  9. Cybele's avatar

    Emily - I think I got a hold of all the “world fruits” (click on the first photo for my inventory). I have CamuCamu, Durian, Dragonfruit and White Peach.

    Also, I found some stuff in bags that’s milky flavors and I think something that’s calcium fortified (hard to know, since it’s not an English export package).

    Comment by Cybele on 9/27/09 at 10:30 am #
  10. dawwww,i wish i lived near you.i want these kinds of candy…the mamba packs just dont cut it for me and i have no 7-11 near me…but i DO have a world market..i guess i just gotta look closer….maybe they have hichews.

    Comment by james on 9/27/09 at 12:52 pm #
  11. Sera's avatar

    Awww, those look delish! :D

    Comment by Sera on 9/27/09 at 3:31 pm #
  12. Being in Taiwan right now, there’ a 7-11 on every corner and Hi Chews are plentiful. I have seen the cotton candy around but have yet to try it (knowing how sickly sweet American cotton candy candies are) but I may now—-but I have not seen any of the candied apple kind.

    Comment by Trish on 9/28/09 at 6:07 am #
  13. I just bought some of the Cotton Candy one and the Peach flavoured Hi-Chews. The Cotton Candy one has a weird scent…and is super sweet! I think my favourite is the grapefruit. These weren’t bad though.

    Comment by Streaker on 11/12/09 at 9:04 am #
  14. After I found your blog and read this post, I went out and found some of these candies at my local Chinese candy store, and they are wonderful! I gave it to all my firneds and they all love it.
    I don’t know if you heard of this new flavour they came out with. It’s suppose to be salted lemon, and it is really good. You can taste the saltiness and still taste the lemon at the same time.

    Comment by Alex on 2/09/10 at 8:26 pm #
  15. Hi I’m in Japan I like your blog and it’s my first comment.
    I really loved this Cotton Candy HiCHEW , happy to see it took your highest raiting!
    I wanted to eat it last year too but I can’t found it:(

    I think it’s similar to candy corn or SMOOTH N MELTY Petite Mints in some respects.(Also my favorites but not easy to find here)

    Comment by Rena on 3/30/12 at 10:59 pm #

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