Monday, October 9, 2017

10 Dollar Skull Suckers and Fizzy Brains (Skull Chupa Chups from Japan)

Skull Chupa Chups from Japan eBay 9.99
$10 for a tiny bag of imported lollipops? What can I say? My frugal foodie nature was thrown out the window the second I laid eyes on this packaging.  
I nearly talked myself out of them, but it was the last bag on eBay, so I quickly rationalized this purchase as being a little treat to celebrate my birthday (last Friday) and my new job (starting Tuesday.) Turns out, they were worth every penny...
How can anyone resist this packaging? Not only is it covered in skeletons, bones, brains, and lightning bolts, but this skull-shaped plastic bag is gusseted, so it stands up on it's own! (Which made taking photos SUPER easy.) Not to mention the vibrant, GIANT, purple skull with green brains front and center. The colors drew me in, and my love of all thinks spooky sealed the deal. I had to have these. 
On the back, there are even more cute doodles! All of the phrases are in English and they revolve around the mind, brains, or thinking. Saying things like, "Makes you lose your mind." Or, "Think before you lick." The words hype the candy up, but none of them describe how it's supposed to taste. I'm guessing the Japanese panels on the back might have some clues, but...I still can't speak/read Japanese, so we're goin' in blind! I'm really excited to see if the candy inside is as alluring as the packaging promises. 
I didn't want to damage any of the packaging (which I will be hoarding in a scrap book to drool over for all eternity), so I took an X-acto blade and sliced the gusseted bottom to free the lollipops from their skull-shaped plastic prison.   
There are 7 individually wrapped lollipops inside the bag, and all of them seem to be the same flavor: purple skull, pale green brains. On one side, the individual wrappers are just as awesome as the outer packaging, with a clear window on the other. Unfortunately, the candies aren't as detailed, or vibrant, as the illustration on the bag would have you believe, but they're still really stinking cute. (Gotta admit, I was sad the brains were more ivory than they were green. I was promised green brains, dammit!)
Unwrapped, the candy doesn't have much of a smell. There's something faintly sweet, and a little creamy, which reminds me of fruit and cream Lifesavers lollipops I used to love as a kid, but there's nothing mind blowing about those, so I doubt they'll taste the same.  
Okay, time to LOSE MY MIND. Into my mouth is goes!
I'm not 100% sure what this is supposed to taste like. The first thing that comes to mind are lime Skittles, but this is purple, so logically I want to say it's muscat or grape flavored, but honestly, I think this might be a tangy take on Ramune. (Which is a lightly citrus bubblegum-y flavoring popular in Japan.) The purple skull portion is a typical lollipop, sweet, fruity, and appealing, but the pale green (glow-in-the-dark-looking) brains are tangy and kind of fizzy! 
The brain portion has a rough, gritty, texture to it, much rougher than the smooth purple candy portion, and as it melts on your tongue it creates a light, almost carbonated, sensation, without creating any foam or actually fizzing. It's a very interesting sensation I have never experienced in a lollipop before, but I really dig it! 
Even though I only got 7 of these lollipops in the bag, they are pretty hefty. Each one is slightly smaller than a Blow-Pop, but instead of hiding a bubble gum center (which makes premature crunching easier), this is rock-solid and pretty dense. I've been sucking on one while writing and editing this entire post, so about 40 minutes, and it's still not a suitable crunching-size and the fizzing sensation hasn't faded away.  
After nearly an hour, and finally crunching this tiny cranium to bits, I'm still not 100% sure what this flavoring is. Going with my tastebuds, I want to say it's a tangy lime ramune, but my gut tells me this is some kind of tangy take on muscat grape. I'm going to go with: This looks purple, but tastes green. Hopefully that makes as much sense to you guys as it does to me. **AH-HA! I found (and google-translated) this page which says these are strawberry LIME flavored. I was 50% right!
This novelty Japanese Halloween product turned out to be so much more than just a pretty package. This sweet, tangy, soda-like candy lasts a long time, offers a fizzy sensation I have never experienced in lollipops before, AND they just so happen to be shaped like adorable skulls. I wish I could buy these in bulk because I would love for this to be my Halloween hand-out candy for 2017, but, at $10 a bag, I think I'll be keeping these all to myself. 
FYI: I found a listing for a cute skull container with 50 of these lollipops for nearly $50 USD, but that's too rich for my frugal foodie funds.  
* I gave one to my b/f's daughter, and she liked the skull portion, but was not a fan of the fizzy brains. She felt they were a little too tangy/sour, but I really don't think it tastes sour at all. It's more-so fizzy than anything else, but it's something to keep in mind. Sour-haters may not like these as much as I do.  
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