Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Walking the Chinese Candy Aisle

So if you're a regular reader here you'll know I live near a Walgreens. That's what I generally consider my main candy aisle. But I also live pretty much the exact same distance away from a huge Chinese grocery store. It's a great store in a way, but also a huge headache to find anything in. Generally all I buy there are eggs, tofu, and veggies. The veggies there are good, but you can't count on everything always being there.

Every once in a while I walk through the candy and cookie aisle. Sometimes I'll get some Pocky and very occasionally a green tea or mango popsicle, but for the most part I don't get my candy there. Why? well, most of it is just plain foreign to me.

But for the sake of WTCA I've made a trek down the aisle today and am here to show you some of the fine delectables that I found on my walk down this particular candy aisle. But where to begin?

How about with the classics. Wasabi hot peas are amazing. I remember the first time I tried them. It must've been about 10 years ago now. I loved them then, and I love them now. Dried peas are fine and all, but give them that kick from Wasabi and wow! just awesome. While I've got a few more crackers later on in the pics I also had to show this collection first. If you've ever been to a party with even vaguely Chinese themes, or even some restaurants you'll find a mix almost exactly like this. Puffed shrimp, rice crackers, those sticky green ones, and the harder orange crackers, is that a pretzel or what? Who knows what they are, I just know they're great. And that I always need to wash my hands after eating them, very sticky.

Oh Mochi cakes are great. I mean they're mostly great. I tell you, everytime I look at Mochi I really want it, then I'll get a hold of it and I'll be about halfway through when I realize that it just is not made for me. The flour / cake part of the dessert is actually a sweet rice. Really this is closer to a dumpling than anything else, but while the fillings make you think this will be ... juicy, its much more of a "gel-like" texture. kind of slimy. And while you'd think it should taste great, the rice outer white part of the Mochi is actually the worst part. It's really the same way that Mexican rice candy has great appeal but when you get 3 bites in... it just all starts tasting like a paste.

They sure look great though. This peanut one is a perfect example of something I feel like I'd just have to try... even though I'm 95% sure I'll be disappointed.

What's an Ube cake? Sure looks like Mochi to me... maybe not though. Great color.

One of the things you'll always see lots of in Chinese candy aisles. Fun fruit candies.

Shaped like seashells!? Sure why not. And I appreciate that there's an Apple flavor. Why don't Western candies come in Apple flavor? I love apples.

The Jelly or Gummy candy seems to be extremely prevalent in Eastern cultures.Why exactly that is... I have no idea. Hey, I'm no expert anthropologist here, I'm just a guy who likes candy. One of the things to note about these candy bags is that every candy inside will be individually wrapped. I wonder if that's a hygiene thing or more about a culture of sharing...

Here we have what looks to be more apple candies, although the label reads "Hawthorne..." is that Pear or Peach... sure looks like an apple in the pictures. And of course the beloved Preserved Waxberry. God; how many times have I just wished I had a waxberry on hand...

And here we have some sort of a blue mint with a liquid center, and a pretty good looking Coconut Candy. I wonder if the coconut candy is also white on the inside.

And what have we here? Well, the one on the right is a Green Tea hard candy. I've had this before and its alright. Not really my thing but I'm no green tea fanatic like some people. The other yellow bag... I don't know... it could be anything. I like the little angel girl mascot, but its funny since that would never be allowed on a Western product (far too racy)

In a case of the most awesome mascot ever, check out Milkita! That cow is like some kind of superhero!

Gosh that cow is so sporty! I'll bet Milkita candies will make me sporty and fun like the cow too!

I'm a coffee drinker. Are you? So riddle me this... Why don't Westerners have more things flavored like coffee if we love it so much?

What you may ask is this? Well its a seasoned beancurd snack of course... chewy, chewy beancurd.

Ok, technically these we're by the checkout and not in the aisle per say, but Gummy Choco's had to get a mention. Do Westerners even have gummy paired with chocolate anywhere? I can't think of it...

Sometimes you just have that yearning for Pinipig. Ok ok, you got me this is technically a Filippino dessert, but I thought it looked cool, and it was in the candy aisle. I've never had it but Polvoron is apparently like a kind of shortbread. and pinipig as far as I know is a kind of rice... or maybe its a way to prepare a certain kind of rice. Either way I sure like this packaging :)

Speaking of shortbread we're definitely getting into more snacking territory. Chinese grocery stores seem to have a lot more emphasis on cookies and crackers.


Adobo is just a great word.I'm pretty sure its also a Filipino flavoring but these kind of little puff oyster crackers are common with Chinese fare as well. Here the presence of the always adorable Keroppi. Something about that frog just always amused me. He really is my favorite Sanrio character. Definitely cooler than Hello Kitty. Why he's hawking crackers is beyond me.

This one is pretty interesting; it looks and feels like a granola bar but is labelled a butter peanut cake. All three things that I like. hmm...

The aisle does have lots of chips in it as well. Here's a sampling of two. What they are exactly is up to interpretation. But I like the little Adobo mascot.

These strawberry koala cookies must be from Australia right? :D

Why do tomato flavored soda crackers look like they'll melt my face off? We'll have to cool off with some yummy snow rice crackers.

One more cracker for you. These Lucky Thin Crackers may not be super exciting, but I really like the accordian graphic, and hey, they're honey dew melon flavored. Thats very cool.

Flute wafers are great, but you have to find the right brand. I love these when they're really filled with something that ends up fruity and creamy. Strawberry sounds good. Just remember, quality on these things varies wildly. Nice mascot on that box; is he supposed to be someone I should know?

What? egg rolls... these lok like more "flute wafers" to me. Maybe they're just made with egg. I highly doubt this would taste like what I know of as an egg roll.

Almost at the end now.

And these are some fine black sesame cookies. They do look cool. Is there any flavor difference in black sesame vs brown sesame seeds? I just can't remember.

And finally we're down to the  Choco-pie. I've had these things twice now, and while they look great on the box the actual execution is a bit dry. The stuffing isn't nearly as thick as it looks in that picture and the outer layer of chocolate is so minimal it makes almost no impact on the flavor. Add that to dry cake and its all a bit of a let down, but they sure look good in the box.

So as you can see there's some pretty fun stuff in any candy aisle. Let me know what you've got in your aisle, and what you think about this trip down the Chinese aisle...More from me next time all. Enjoy the aisle :)


  1. Those yellow candies you were so perplexed about, to the left of the green tea candy, I know what those are. They're caramels. Really great caramels. And the Keroppi cookies are really nice. They're sort of sweet and melty and yummy.

  2. Ah, very cool. thanks for the tip on the Caramels. Since posting this I've had the Keroppi cookies and agree that they are really solid.

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