Thursday, August 28, 2014

Anpanman Cola flavored Gummies - H-mart: Cherry Hill, NJ

Anpanman Cola flavored Gummies - H-mart: Cherry Hill, NJ
Before I get started with today's review, I wanted to apologize for my poorly written (and wonky) post from last night. I haven't been getting much sleep, so I wrote it around 1AM, added the photos in a pseudo-zombie state, and the lack of brainpower really shows in the finished post. Today I decided to blow off all my chores and responsibilities when I got home from work and I laid down for a 3 hour nap, so hopefully this review makes a lot more sense. 

I feel like it's been a while since I've reviewed anything from Japan, although I did review this Pocky last month, so here's a little package of gummies I found in the snack aisle featuring Anpanman!

Anpanman is a very popular children's character in Japan, but he's no spring chicken.  According to the wiki-page, the original Anpanman picture books were released in 1973 and the anime program based on the same character started airing in the late 1980's. Sadly the picture books ended in 2013 when the writer passed, but the anime is still airing new episodes! (There are over 2000 episodes for the series so far.) Similar to Disney and it's iconic Mickey Mouse (who I find creepy), Anpanman has tons of merchandise ranging from T-shirts to snack foods, and this is one of the many Anpanman related sweets that I have seen in H-Mart. (Although The Asian Food Market has a lot more variety.)

The packaging for this candy is a thin foiled plastic bag, which is the go-to material for candy wrapping these days, and it features a bold orange and yellow gradient, meant to mimic cola, and Anpanman himself. (Along with Dokinchan who I wasn't familiar with and had to look up. She's so cute but she's actually one of the villains.) The packaging and it's design make great use of the space, adding white stylized bubbles to the cola back drop and little banner-like scrolls to the edges, and overall I feel like this is a really solid and dynamic design.

When turned over, the packaging looks really boring, but all of the necessary information is provided. It's certainly functional, but one thing in particular had me a bit confused. Whenever I buy items from an Asian grocery shop here in America there is an added sticker to translate the ingredients into English, and this label lists green tea extract as an ingredient, but these are cola flavored. Is that meant to be there? Sometimes these ingredient labels are incorrect, so I am not sure if this is a typo or if this item actually has a form of green tea in it.

Inside the package is a thin, clear, plastic tray with little impressions of the characters from the show that have been filled with a cola flavored gummy mixture. Their backs are covered with an ultra thin sheet of edible paper, I'm guessing rice paper, and they have a strong cola candy scent.

The aroma is just like Haribo gummy soda bottles and other popular cola candies, it doesn't smell entirely accurate, but you can recognize what it's trying to recreate. In fact, this smells like it might have a stronger hint of citrus, like lemon, than Haribo, but the scent is still very similar.

I tried to peel the rice paper off the back and remove one of the gummies, but these were a lot more difficult to remove than I had anticipated. I tried pulling them up by the rice paper, but it just tore into pieces (which I happily ate). WHat eneded up working the best was using my finger to invert the mold, grab a little piece of the gummy, and yank it free. Even then it took quite a lot of pulling to get these little out and they did get a little distorted from the effort. Now, a lot of the candies I buy at the Asian markets here in New Jersey tend to be older products because it takes a while for them to get to the states and, on top of that, a lot of the markets like to buy older products because they are cheaper. So, I'm not sure if these were difficult to remove because they are stale, or if this is how stiff they are meant to be. 

Old or not, candy is candy and I'm going to eat them.

I popped the detailed little gummy into my mouth and the chew was about as stiff as a gumdrop, but with the same bounciness as a gummy bear. The flavoring is almost exactly like a Haribo cola bottle, but the citrus notes and the faux carbonation are a bit bolder in this particular candy. Since I like cola flavored sweets I really enjoyed this candy, and I really liked the added citrus, but you don't get very many candies for your money.

If you're a big fan of Anpanman, then this cola candy is both fun and delicious, but if you really love cola candies you won't get much bang for your buck. An entire bag of Haribo soda bottles costs nearly the same amount, so if you prefer quantity that is more your speed, but I did prefer the flavoring and denser chew of this candy. This was a quality novelty candy, and I could definitely see myself buying another tray of these in the future.
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