Friday, November 6, 2009

HiCHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach

Blood Orange HiCHEWThis summer Morinaga came out with a limited edition line of World Fruit flavors of HiCHEW. I tried to collect all of them. Shown here is the Blood Orange I reviewed over the summer.

HiCHEW, originally from Japan but now sold all over Asia and now in North America, are a soft chew made from sugar, glucose syrup, palm oil and gelatin. They’re rather like Starburst, but with a much smoother chew and a bouncy texture. It’s kind of like soft bubble gum that you can swallow. The flavors are usually very faithful to the real fruits.

White Peach HiCHEW

I’m not usually fond of peach flavored candies. I like peaches but peach candy often ends up tasting either too much like the skin or like a bland version of the flesh but rarely an authentic combination of the two.

White Peach HiCHEW are extraordinary. They’re sweet, a little tangy and have that strange peach skin flavor which is some kind of cross between popsicle stick, rosemary sprig and Christmas tree. Though some folks say that the outside and inside have different flavor intensities, as far as I can tell it’s all the same.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Dragonfruit HiCHEW

When I ordered this I’d never had a real dragonfruit before. I didn’t know what they were and thought they were far too exotic to find at my local farmers market. Well, that turned out to be untrue. I did find dragonfruit at the Los Angeles Farmers Market and though it was expensive ($3.99 for one, which was about the size of a large pear) I bought it to try. What I found out is that a dragonfruit is just a prickly pear fruit (something I have in the back yard). The one I got was rather bland. It tasted like a cross between Kiwi (lightly tangy with a crunch of seeds), Fig (a fresh and clean flavor) and Musk Melon (sweet with a touch of honey) but not nearly as good as any of those on their own. Not worth the bucks.

The Dragonfruit HiCHEW package looked a bit more exotic than my real dragonfruit. The flesh of mine was white with little black seeds, the one on the wrapper had magenta flesh. Inside the foil the pieces are an intense pink with little black flecks, which I assumed would emulate the seeds. The flavor is fruity, like fruit punch, cantaloupe, peach and strawberry. It’s a little tart, but not nearly as intense as the peach from above or citrus flavor HiCHEW I usually prefer.

Though I enjoyed it, the flavor wasn’t as distinct and innovative as I’d hoped. (I guess part of me is hoping there’s a fruit out there that I’ve never tasted that will blow my mind.) The seed bits provided only a tiny bit of texture, like those in kiwi usually do. Certainly tasty enough to keep eating them, but not something I’m going to put on my list to seek out.

Rating: 6 out of 10

CamuCamu HiCHEW

CamuCamu HiCHEW was a complete mystery to me. One of the things that is so compelling about tasting candies from around the world is that it exposes me to fruits, spices and flavors that I would probably never encounter otherwise. Camu camu is a bush native to the Amazon River basin and the berries (the size of grapes) don’t travel well, so the chance that I’ll run across them in the grocery story is pretty slim. They are available as frozen pulp or juice. Most of the information I could find about camu camu makes it look like it’s the next superfruit, another acai. (It can cure herpes! Detoxifies the liver, improves mood balance and promotes healthy brains.)

The pieces were white on the outside with pink from the inside kind of peeking through the not-quite-opaqueness. It’s immediately tangy: really really tart and smooth. It made my mouth water and gave me that tingle in the corners of my jaw. The flavor is a bit like cranberries, sour grapes and apples. I enjoyed it quite a bit, not really because of the flavor but because of the nicely rounded sourness that wasn’t a screaming acidity.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Durian HiCHEW

The final on the list is Durian HiCHEW. For those of you who don’t know what durian is, well, as far as I’m concerned you’re not missing anything. (You can read more about durian here.)

My personal experience with durian candies is limited. I’ve had a few hard candies that I mentioned here and some durian taffy another friend gave me that I couldn’t even bring myself because it smelled so bad. Neither of those, combined with what I’ve read about it, has compelled me to seek out the real thing.  (They’re available frozen whole at several local markets in Los Angeles and seasonally in Chinatown.)

Oh sure, this HiCHEW looked benign, even smelled a little like vanilla. It was all white, no different colored center. Biting into it, it was a little tangy like a yogurt chew. But then the real durian flavor. It’s a mix of strawberry and mirepoix. The onion notes weren’t completely revolting, it was like eating ice cream that had been stored in a smelly freezer ... just off and not something that you’d think flavor-ologists would slave over and present to their bosses as something that should be placed in production.

If you’re durian-curious, I think candy is a great way to expose yourself to it and maybe even check it off of that omnivore list you have. As far as I’m concerned this was the best durian candy I’ve ever had.

Rating: 4 out of 10

HiCHEW use all natural colors, but I don’t think the flavors are all natural. They contain gelatin so are unsuitable for vegetarians and those who are looking for a Kosher/Halal chew.

Related Candies

  1. Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
  2. Short & Sweet: Tropical Flavors
  3. HiCHEW Aloe Yogurt
  4. Kasugai Pineapple Gummy
  5. HiCHEW Yuzu & Valencia
  6. HiCHEW Grapefruit
Name: Hi-CHEW World Fruit: Dragonfruit, CamuCamu, Durian & White Peach
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Morinaga
Place Purchased: &
Price: $1.80 & $1.48
Size: 2.0 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Chew, Japan, Morinaga

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:27 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Oh, I purchased that Camu Camu one at the market the other day, and asked the Japanese clerk behind the counter what exactly it was? Its pronounced “Cum Cum” in Japanese! But actually it was sooo good!!

    Comment by Erin on 11/06/09 at 9:11 am #
  2. I learned to like durian, but you need to get past the smell to do so.  My wife grew up eating it, but I never encountered it until after we married.  The first time she brought some home I thought the smell was a gas leak.

    Even now, I find the smell rather strong.  But the taste (to me) is like a cross between banana custard and avocado.  Best fresh (or freshly frozen), though, not as an ingredient. I’ve never encountered a durian-flavored food (baked, candy, or ice cream) that tasted as good as the fruit by itself.

    Comment by Javahead on 11/06/09 at 9:48 am #
  3. Those peach ones look beautiful in the photographs. I’m a sucker for candies that look good and have lovely wrappers!

    Comment by Richard @ The Bewildered Brit on 11/07/09 at 2:03 pm #
  4. Ah man, I was hoping to get my reviews up before you. I like the white peach one quite a bit, but haven’t opened up the Camu Camu yet. Still haven’t gotten the durian yet…I’m morbidly intrigued to how bad it could be. My husband and another pilot friend bought some durian wafer cookies to satiate their curiosity. As soon as they tore open the sleeve, the smell made them so sick…they put the cookies behind the tire and ran over them on the way out of the parking lot.

    Comment by Nicole on 11/08/09 at 6:02 am #
  5. I LOVE Durian! When I saw the Hi-Chews on Jlist I HAD to have them! They’re okay, the Durian taste is a little too faint for me. I think a good way to expose yourself to Durian is probably trying the snow bubble. It has a decent amount of Durian flavor in it.

    I wanted to try the Dragon Fruit, I tried the gum and it was pretty good but I forgot to include that in my order!

    Comment by zel on 11/08/09 at 2:22 pm #
  6. Japanese candy, for the most part, is way too sweet for me.  Even their chocolate.  Though nothing beats the constant stream of various Kit Kats that Japan has.  They make great gifts for people back home.

    Comment by Joshua Zimmerman on 11/08/09 at 7:54 pm #
  7. Ever tried a mangosteen? I don’t know of any mangosteen-flavored candies, but the fresh fruit itself is pretty mindblowingly delicious. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to come by fresh mangosteens here in the states.

    Comment by mmmyummay on 11/09/09 at 8:57 am #
  8. These are awesome! =D
    I love the fact that they come in so many flavours!

    Comment by Aidyl on 11/27/09 at 2:42 am #
  9. There are two varieties of dragonfruit. There’s the white fleshed kind, which is more common, and the pink/red fleshed kind. The pink fleshed kind is a very bold, almost unnatural/artificial magenta color similar to the color of the skin and the juice will stain. The pink fleshed kind also has a slightly different flavor than the white king. The white kind, when ripe is tangy but mild; while the pink kind has always reminded me a little of lipstick. Needless to say, while I don’t hate the pink kind, I prefer the white.

    Comment by Trish on 11/27/09 at 5:22 am #
  10. I just bought the durian ones in Little Tokyo yesterday, and UGH!  The smell just about made me sick, and the taste sealed the deal.  Now that my curiosity has been sated, I never want anything to do with durian again.

    Fortunately, I also bought several packs of the cotton candy and candied apple flavors, and those helped wash the taste out of my mouth!

    Comment by sairentohiru on 5/03/10 at 3:18 pm #
  11. My mother-in-law got me a pack of the durian flavor back when they were around (a few years ago now I guess, judging by the date on this post!) and I’ve been in a mad search ever since to find another pack. I suppose it’s likely fruitless since it was a limited edition, but I still look whenever I’m in Japan - or ask my MIL to look.

    I really liked them. But, I like durian and durian flavored things. Though the only thing I can reliably find is durian smoothies at (a select few) Asian markets or restaurants.

    Comment by AJP on 6/11/13 at 10:03 am #
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