Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Super Umeboshi - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ

Super Umeboshi - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ
I found another one of the 'Super" candies by Nobel in my area, and this time it's a rare one! Well, rare for New Jersey anyway. I can find Super Lemon in every Asian convenience store, and occasionally I see Super Cola, but Super Umeboshi? Not so much.

In case you didn't know, umeboshi are salted picked plums. They are often shown in bento boxes, on top of a bed of rice, or in the center of an onigiri. I had seen them in popular manga and anime, so my sister and I bought some a few years ago to try it for ourselves. I tried the real-deal, and let me tell you, it's a bold flavor! I actually liked it, but my sister wasn't much of a fan. I'm not sure how popular it in Asia, but I can't see a candy flavored like a salty pickled plum selling all that well here in the states. Anyway, I found it at H-Mart, and it was the last bag too.

The design is colorful and playful, juts like the others. All of the items in Nobel's Super-line have this fun comic-book-like pop-art aesthetic, but with different colors schemes and overall themes. Super Lemon was very retro and kind of 1950-ish, Super Cola was very 90's, GInger had a sushi theme, and this Super Umeboshi design is reminiscent of geisha.I really like the color choices here, but out of all the bags, the Super Lemon is still my favorite.

These candies are very similar to a Warhead, which is a popular hard candy in America that is known for it's sour coating and sweet hard candy center. ( If you ever want to watch people torture themselves, look up the Warhead challenge on Youtube. But be warned, candy isn't all fun and games. A lot of those videos caused pain, bleeding, and a few people had to visit a hospital. So they aren't for the squeamish. ) As the diagram shows this candy consists of a few layers.

Each one of these little hard candies are individually wrapped, which makes for easy sharing.
According to the chart, first is the intensely umeboshi flavored powder, then the mild umeboshi candy, and then the intense umeboshi candy again. Now I'm not sure if this is an accurate chart, since I am pretty sure the center is mild and not intense, but who knows. Maybe that first layer was so intense everything else turned into a cakewalk. 

Unwrapped, the candy has a fine layer of powdery umeboshi powder, and it looks like a frosted marble. There's no smell that I can detect, but I already know what I'm in for.

Watch the video of my sister and I trying it HERE:

For those of you unable to watch the video, this thing starts out very very salty. In a way it feels like it's drying out your mouth, but it actually makes you mouth water as you try to force your way through it, so you feel all drool-y and kinda gross. The salty flavoring isn't just pure salt, there is a faintly vinegar-like flavoring that is reminiscent of pickling, and a hint of fruit. I set a timer and the initial intense flavoring lasts about 30-45 seconds, but the candies to vary in their salty coatings. One might have more coating than another. (As seen in the video.) After that intense mouth drying salty flavoring wears off, your left with a sweet but brine-y pickled fruit flavored hard candy. The flavoring is a lot more mild than the powdery coating, and even though I crunched my hard candy in the video, I have since tried to wait it out to see if the center is a resurgence of flavoring.

It isn't. After that powder wears off it's mild, vinegary and fruity the rest of the way through. I've mentioned this in a few posts, but I love balsamic vinegars. I have been known to drink them on occasion because they help with my stomach troubles (and they taste good) so this candy was no big deal for me. Sure the intense saltiness isn't what I would call fun or pleasant, but the hard candy underneath actually wasn't that bad.

I don't think I would ever buy a whole bag of this again, since I'll be nursing this one for quite some time, but I wouldn't say it was all that terrible. Then again, I drink vinegar. I have had two other non-weirdo-vinegar drinkers try this, and they both hated it. So I wouldn't say this is a must try candy for everyone, but it would certainly make a fun "OMG this tastes so bad, you gotta try it" kind of candy.

All in all, this is a very different flavor as far as candies go, and I am very happy I got to try it.
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