Pine Tsubu Tsubu Kajitso Fruits Candy - Asian Food Market
Oh. My. God. Look at this adorable packaging! Normally I have a story, or some kind of elaborate reason for buying a certain item to review, but for this particular bag of candy...it was simply too cute to leave on the shelf. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for cute stuff, and I'm extremely susceptible to adorable strawberry illustrations.)
The plastic bag is partially transparent, so you can see the freaking precious candies inside, but the printed portions of the bag are quite simple. We have an almost neon green colored background, which very easily stood out on the shelves because nothing else was this color, and vectored illustrations of sliced kiwi and rounded strawberries. Everything about this is simple, bold, and absolutely adorable. Visually, it reminds me of teaching daycare, which is very different from the usual candy Asian Food Market and H-Mart that are very busy and elaborate.
Along with the simple illustrations, the front of the package features a circular diagram showing that each of these hard candies have tiny candy "seeds" inside them to mimic the real fruits they're based on. I love when fruit-themed candies try to incorporate some kind of candy-seed into them. Just like that Seedlings gum that I buy at the mall! (Even though I know they are incredibly stale and have been in there for ages.)
The adorableness isn't contained to the outer packaging and mixed in seeds either. Each individual wrapper is printed with tiny details to make these hard candy disks look like little strawberries or kiwis! It's such a simple detail, but it works so well! (It totally won me over anyway.) I love how simple this all is, and I imagine kids would love this because their candy looks exactly like what it is supposed to taste like.
Both candies look like Lifesavers when they're unwrapped, but they lack the distinctive hole in the center. These have that center indentation, but it's filled. It helps with the semi-authentic fruit appearance they're going for with the illustrations, but why not make a perfect disk? Why have the indentation at all? Well, I'm just being picky, lets see how they taste!
I decided to go with the strawberry candy first, and like a lot of hard candies, it doesn't have much of a scent to it other than generic sugary sweetness. The second it hit my tongue I was surprised because it was unexpectedly creamy. Almost like the coating of Strawberry Pocky, or strawberry Nesquick. I looked up the ingredients and it turns out skim milk powder is in these things! Since they looked so translucent I had no idea they were meant to taste creamy at all. It's not a bad flavor, but it was a bit of a shock since I was expecting a brighter flavor. The strawberry candies taste fruity and mild, kind of like strawberry milk made with too much syrup, but not as mild and creamy as those strawberry Cremesavers from the 90's. It's pleasant enough, and as far as I can tell the seeds didn't really add anything to the overall texture or experience. I think they're advertised as being crunchy, but I really didn't notice them at all. (They're cute though!)
Normally I'm all about strawberry flavored sweets, but the kiwi flavored ones needed up being my favorite! This flavor isn't as milky or creamy as the strawberry one, and I liked the brighter almost tangy flavor! I grew up eating kiwi, so I can tell you the flavor isn't 100% spot on, but it's really enjoyable and very different from the typical fruit flavors that most candies go with. (Like apple or grape.) However, I gave one of these candies to my boss' 9-year old daughter and she absolutely hated it. She preferred the strawberry, so for American palettes, this might be a more mature-oriented flavor.
Would I buy these again? Sure! They look super cute in a gift or candy dish, and I found both flavors to be enjoyable. (I just like the kiwi one more.) If you love adorable illustrations and fruity treats, this is perfect!