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Japanese Snacks Outside Japan

2008 July 3
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To share the Japanese experience a little bit, I thought I’d start a regular feature of listing Japanese snacks you can find in America – and some you unfortunately can’t. America is a pretty big place, so it’s entirely probably that a lot of the things I mention as can’ts have been imported to California and haven’t made it over to the East Coast yet – or perhaps have been imported to major cities across the country but not where I live. At any rate, this is based on my own limited experience with a fairly small Chinese-owned Asian supermarket on the East Coast, so feel free to correct me if you have spotted any of this yourself.

 

You can get Pretz. Everyone by now has heard of Pocky – a thin biscuit stick dipped in chocolate. There are a variety of flavors like strawberry, green tea, and pumpkin – but all dessert. If you’re looking for a salty snack but still want it in thin biscuit form, Pretz is the answer! Pretz also comes in a variety of flavors – I’ve tried pizza and “salad” so far, but I’ve seen a beer flavor.

You can’t get good instant noodles. Asami says American ramen, while made by Japanese companies, is gross compared to Japanese “インスタント”, and I have to agree. What amazes me most is the variety of things that can be dried and revived with hot water! And yes, eggs, tofu, and seafood in instant food taste great.

You can get candies like ジュウーC, hi-chew, and Baby Choco. It’s not quite the same variety as in Japan, but I’ve definitely seen fruit candies like JuiC and hi-chew sticks in America. It’s impossible to get scurvy in Japan; everything’s packed with Vitamin C! Baby Choco are just cute – they’re Tic Tac-sized pieces of chocolate come in a little dispensing container – but if you look at them closely, you’ll find some of them stamped with stars, and maybe even one with a smiley face.

You can’t get melon bread, at least not where I am in the US. Melon bread is a misleadingly-named favorite treat of the Japanese – a mildly sweet bread that’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It doesn’t taste like melon; it’s just scored like a Japanese melon on the curved side. Melon pan is such a Japanese staple that McDonald’s has just announced that they’ll be selling it in Japanese stores starting on the 19th of this month. If you can find some in America, you should definitely try it out; if not, I know there are recipes online for the adventurous.

And you can’t, of course, get C.C. Lemon in America. As I said before, there’s no scurvy in Japan – there’s a surplus of lemon-flavored sodas and energy drinks packed with vitamin C, C.C. Lemon being one of the most well-known. Everyone I’ve ever met who has traveled here mentions C.C. Lemon as something they truly miss when they return. I didn’t think it was anything special the first time I tried it, but now that I’ve had a while to adjust to Japanese food, I think I understand what makes C.C. Lemon great.

 

I thought this might be a fun topic for a post, so if you’d like to see more of these, please comment and let me know! Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot adventure-wise to report at the moment. There are plenty of rainstorms; I’m getting in more library time and still searching for fun things to do this weekend. If nothing else comes up, I may just take a trip back to Kenrokuen or another tourist site and do some photography for a change.

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