Thursday, March 3, 2011

HiCHEW Japan vs HiCHEW Taiwan

HiCHEW from Taiwan & JapanOne of the earliest international candy obsessions I developed because of Candy Blog was HiCHEW. They’re made by Morinaga in Japan and come in a wide variety of fruity flavors. The packages are flat, contain only one flavor and feature individually wrapped pieces that are easy to share.

They’ve been popular in Japan for since 1975 (and existed in different formats for at least 40 years before that). Lately they’ve become more widely available in the United States and Canada, starting with large metropolitan areas with large Japanese populations. Now they’re pretty commonplace here in Los Angeles, I can get them at 7-11 or Target and the packaging has been Americanized with English wrapper and full nutrition facts.

The American ones are made in Taiwan and feature slightly smaller packages at 1.76 ounces and sporting a price of about $1.00. The flavor set is rather ordinary with strawberry, orange, green apple, mango, lemon and melon (and sometimes banana) available. The Japanese also come in similar flavors with seasonal or limited edition varieties coming out all the time.

HiCHEW from Taiwan & Japan

I decided to pick up a package of each and really put them to the test.

Major differences:
Size: Japanese is 2.01 ounces - Taiwanese is 1.76 ounces
Pieces: Japanese have 12 pieces in a package - Taiwanese have 10 pieces
Inner Wrapper: Japanese have foil wrapper with Morinaga logo - Taiwanese have blank waxed paper wrapper
Ingredients: Japanese have all natural colors, artificial flavoring and use Agar-Agar as a jelling agent - Taiwanese use natural coloring (carmine), natural flavors and gelatin as a jelling agent.

HiCHEW - Taiwan & Japan

The Taiwanese version is more intensely pink in the center. The chew is stiff at first, but still smooth. It’s slightly tangy and has a good strawberry flavor that errs more on the tart side than the floral sweetness though it does get a little jammy towards the end with cooked strawberry notes. The chew lasts a long time and never gets grainy.

The Japanese version is a little softer and chewier. The flavor is also a well rounded berry with good sweet and sour notes, a little hint of floral and a creamy component (which might be attributed to a splash of yogurt in there). Instead of strawberry jam it was more like a strawberry smoothie.


Given a choice, I would pick up the Japanese version. Yes, I like to be able read my packages, but I also like my flavors bold and as authentic as they were originally conceived. I feel like the Taiwanese HiCHEW is like the Turkish Haribo Gummi Bear, not as good as those made in their homeland. However, I love the fact that this candy is able to get a wider audience. It’s a good introduction and perhaps die hard fans will work towards getting the real thing released in North America.

Related Candies

  1. HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  2. Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
  3. HiCHEW Aloe Yogurt
  4. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  5. HiCHEW Assortment
  6. HiCHEW Grapefruit

Name: HiCHEW Strawberry
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: Mitsuwa Marketplace (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles)
Price: $.99
Size: 2.0 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, HiCHEW, Morinaga, Chews, 7-Worth It, Japan, Taiwan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:43 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyHiCHEWReviewMorinagaChews8-TastyJapanTaiwanHead to Head

  1. the grape flavor is also available in North America - not as easy to find, but available from Amazon and the Hi-Chew website.

    the mango is still my favorite of the flavors available here. I hold out hope for pineapple and grapefruit/pomelo.

    Comment by Jim Kosmicki on 3/03/11 at 3:22 pm #
  2. Liking these candies Cybele. Will try and find at 7-11. No scores? Thinking maybe 7 out of 10! Your summary was excellent! (As always.)

    Comment by Marcee ..... ILLINOIS on 3/04/11 at 8:28 am #
  3. i’ve tried dragonfruit hi-chews, they are ok, not my favorite flavor. i’m pretty sure i bought them at ichiban kan in san francisco. i’ve seen hi chews sold at walgreens all over sf, and my favorites are mango and strawberry. peach is really good but i don’t see that as much as a common flavor, i wish it was sold under hi chew taiwan.

    Comment by annie on 3/04/11 at 8:21 pm #
  4. It’s odd, the Hi-Chews they actually have here in Taiwan are, to me, more reminiscent of the Japanese Hi-Chews. I’ve had the American import ones too, and agree that they are definitely not as good. Hence me stocking up on Taiwanese Hi-Chew whenever I come here.

    It makes me wonder if the ones sold in Taiwan were made at the Japanese Morinaga factory. I’ll have to check next time I get some. The Hi-Chews here also come in more flavors as well, including my favorites Lychee and Cotton Candy.

    Comment by Meredith on 3/06/11 at 4:11 am #
  5. The Taiwan versions have limited edition flavors too- they just tend to either be more available or only available in Taiwan.

    @Meredith- I’m in Taiwan right now for work, and I’m looking at a pack of Hichews-they are the Taiwan factory ones. I think maybe the American imports have just been sitting around for longer (shipping and all).

    I just picked up two new flavors- Peach and Tanghulu (Candied Haw/fruits). Tanghulu is a snack commonly sold from little vendor carts at night markets here in Taiwan, and consists of Hawthorn and various other fruits skewered on a shish kebab skewered and covered in (liquid) sugar that hardens. Very sugary, but at least a little healthy due the fruit. Among the fruits used is cherry tomatoes. Why do I mention tomatoes? Because, people, among the ingredients listed on the package is tomato paste. If they were trying to emulate tomato tanghulu, I’m a little scared of this candy. I’m not sure if they were going for the classic hawthorn flavor or tomatoes, but either way…..tomato paste in candy! At least there’s crunchy sugar crystals in there too, according to the package.   

    I think the Tanghulu, Cotton Candy, and Pudding flavors are part of a flavor set, as they all have 12 to a pack, as opposed to the normal 10, and they all little vendors hawking their wares on the package.

    Comment by Temperance on 3/24/11 at 12:59 am #
  6. If you haven’t already tried it, Hi-Chew Melon flavor is delicious! Strong cantaloupe flavor is kinda unique for candies :3

    Comment by Cala on 4/06/11 at 7:49 pm #
  7. I love Hi-Chew!  The cashier at the Asian store I frequent gave me a sample one day and I’ve been hooked ever since.

    Comment by Ginger on 4/20/11 at 11:11 am #
  8. hi, I hope you know that the Taiwanese Hi-Chews are actually made in Irvine, California. The ones they sell in Japan are specifically Japanese-made and all the other hi-chews are made in California. I think that is a very important fact.

    Comment by anonymous on 3/03/14 at 7:34 pm #
  9. Cybele's avatar

    anonymous - I’m not sure why you think that Morinaga makes their HiChew in Irvine, CA. The company is currently building a new factory in Orange County, North Carolina, but that is a recent development. This review is from 3 years ago.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/12/14 at 12:40 pm #
  10. Today at Target I noticed that the Hi Chew assorted bag apple/grape/strawberry had new packaging. The old bag was made in Taiwan. These are made in China.

    Comment by sara on 7/27/14 at 2:41 pm #
  11. Hi-Chew is manufactured in three countries, Japan, China, and Taiwan. Regarding those products made for the USA, none are manufactured in Japan. Sticks and Costco bags are made in Taiwan. 20-piece (small) bags are made in China. A manufacturing plant is currently being built in North Carolina, but it will not be until 2015 that any Hi-Chew comes from there. Again, no Hi-Chew is manufactured in Irvine, CA. That is only where the US office is, and the local port from which all Hi-Chew enters North America (Los Angeles Port).

    Comment by Morinaga America on 8/19/14 at 10:43 am #
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