The Best Japanese Candy Is Weird and There Is Tons of It

But oh so good.

There’s something extra special about Japanese candy—besides the ingenious and insane packaging and food gimmicks. For one thing, there are so many types of sweets to choose from. If you can dream it, Japan has made it. Some Japanese candy makers even play with wild flavors like pumpkin, soy sauce, and onions. It’s pretty common to have tried that maybe-off-beat Kit Kat green tea flavor, but did you know there are now more than 300 Kit Kit flavors available in Japan?

If you’re on a mission to indulge your senses and expand your mind, you want to get down on Japanese candy.

See, the Japanese candy makers and consumers aren’t fucking around. Their candy making is an art form. They’ve been hooked since the Portuguese taught them how to make sweets (without sugar to start!) more than 400 years ago. Now Japan is the largest candy market in the Asian Pacific region, plus they eat the most chocolate.

Westerners have taken notice, and plenty of Japanese sweets are now available in mainstream America. Think: Pocky sticks, Hi-Chew. If you want to move into more esoteric territory, there are monthly subscription box. One is called Japan Crate, and another’s called Skoshbox. Each one features a monthly bundle of amazingly beautiful, sweet, and interesting flavors of Japanese candy. BECAUSE EVERYONE LOVES CANDY.

If you’re on a mission to indulge your senses and expand your mind, you want to get down on Japanese candy. The best way to proceed? Trial and error.

Here’s a guide to start your quest:

Konpeito

Pure sugar hard candy, formerly used by 16th-century Christians to bribe the Japanese government. Japanese ghosts (Soot Sprites) eat konpeito in many anime films.

Ramune Gummy

Candy maker Kasugai transformed a version of an old-school carbonated lemonade-like soda into a gummy candy. They make a lot of flavors, including a delicious lychee gummy bag. They’ve even got a Sanrio-themed line of gummy candy featuring Gudetama, Sanrio’s lazy-ass egg.

Mugi-Choco

Basically a cracker with chocolate, similar to fan-favorite Pocky Sticks, Mugi-Choco are often called wheat chocolate. Though individually these tiny delectables look like a coffee bean, they are far from it. They are the most delicious little cracker covered in chocolate, and people love them very much.

DIY Candy Kits

Meiji might be famous for the its Hello Pandas (chocolate biscuit pandas), but it’s their DIY candy kit that is one of the best things on earth. You can simply add water, or sometimes the packs require butter or milk, to make a candy-sized version of the cutest ice cream cones around. I’ve tried the donut version, and it was great.

Milky

Besides the cutest character branding ever (she’s got a lot of fans and comes in all forms of toys and ornaments), this candy is like biting into a creamy smoothie. The Milky candies are basically full of milk and butter, in a good way. They come in lots of flavors, including weird ones like pineapple.

Puccho

A chewy, gummy-bear like texture, with an even chewier, harder, pop of flavor burst in the center of each candy. Each flavor burst is supposed to mimic the carbonation of a soda, which sounds amazing and terrifying all at once.

Reposted thanks to Kindland.

Crissy Van Meter is the managing editor at Nouvella Books and the founding editor of Five Quarterly. Her writing has appeared in VICE, Catapult, Guernica, Bustle, ESPN, The Hairpin, Golly, VIDA, and more. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Algonquin Books.
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