I’ve reviewed Hi-Chewseveral times on this site. Most of them were gifts from friends or businesses in Asia, so some of them were flavors that aren’t sold in the U.S. The Hi-Chew that I’m reviewing today is U.S.-specific.
The company that makes Hi-Chew, Morinaga, has a U.S. subsidiary that sells Hi-Chew in strawberry, green apple, mango, melon, banana, and grape flavors. And as of last month’s Sweets and Snacks Expo, a peach Hi-Chew flavor is now available in the U.S. I got a free sample pack to review from Morinaga.
The Peach Hi-Chew had a light pink center and a lightly floral scent. It started off with a very mild, not very sweet flavor. As its bouncy chew developed, however, the sweetness grew.
Honestly, it didn’t taste much like peach to me. It just tasted mild and floral and sweet, maybe more like a muted strawberry. I was surprised, as Hi-Chew is usually really spot-on with their fruit flavors.
Though it wasn’t as peachy as I would have liked, it was still quite enjoyable with its pleasantly light flavor. An OM.
This pack of Tofita came to me all the way from Egypt, via my friend Katie. She was in the country for archeological work and managed to get out right before the unrest really erupted. Today’s candy is tinged with revolution!
Tiny English print on the side called it, “Chewy Candy with Fruit Juice – Blackberry Flavor.” The square candies were individually wrapped in delightfully retro-looking paper.
Their chew was soft and not sticky. Their texture was that of a non-sticky Starburst.
The flavor was sweet with a light seedy bite that conjured up the essence of blackberries and blackcurrants. I loved the complexity of this treat and wish it was a flavor that was used more in the U.S. candy market. An OM.
This week and into next, I’m turning the reviewing over to my friend Neil. He’s from upstate New York but is currently living in the Netherlands. Ironically enough, his guest posts are about Chinese candy.
A labmate went home to China to celebrate the New Year and brought back a lot of candy to share. I asked her to select some for me. Here were my impressions:
White Rabbit, previously rocked by a variety of contamination scandals, has kept its name in China, thereby sticking Jefferson Airplane in my head for the remainder of the day. Mildly daunted by the possibility of contamination, I remembered that despite various food aversions, I do take some risks when it comes to food safety, particularly when there are sweet rewards to be had.
The White Rabbit candy looked to me like a vanilla Tootsie Roll, a confection I haven’t seen since my move out of the U.S. Its hardness was beyond that of a Tootsie, however, and I’m unsure whether to chalk this up to this instance of the candy or if this is common.
Once upon a time, in my 8th grade Earth Science course, I learned the Mohs hardness scale for minerals. I’d say this rated a 2.5 on the Mohs.
Upon first bite, flakes of the Rabbit came off. I believe they were rice paper, but it’s a little disconcerting [note from Rosa: It is rice paper, and it's totally edible]. That bite took a lot of power.
The flavor struck me as a combination of vanilla (perhaps due to visual priming), sugar, and milk: something akin to a vanilla milkshake or Upstate Farms’ Intense Vanilla Milk. The sweetness wasn’t too intense, so it was a pleasant, even relaxing flavor.
Unfortunately, the required mastication is frustrating, taking away from my enjoyment of the candy itself. I am tempted to try another, giving the Rabbit another chance, but not before I give these other candies a chance. Solid O.
Canned Peach is an unusual flavor for any candy. I think the Jr. part of the wrapper refers to the fact that this pack was about half the size of normal Hi-Chew packs. The chews themselves were totally normal sized.
Those chews were a pale orange color. They tasted floral and rather artificially sweet with mango undertones. I guess they’re supposed to taste less genuine because of the canned part of the name. An O.
Melon (far right in the trio) was cantaloupe flavored. Its flavor was spot on, with a melony high overtone, though I found it a bit too sweet overall. Another O.
Cherry (center in the trio) was rather blah. It had a mild red fruit flavor but was otherwise unexceptional. Yet another O.
Grapefruit had a zesty bite with that slight citrusy bitterness that’s distinctive of grapefruit. There was a hint of sweetness of this chew, but it was really all about the bite. My favorite of the bunch and a deserved OM.
When you’re 8 years old, Atomic Fireballs are a mystical candy. They’re intriguing, yet terrifying. At that age, being able to polish off a whole fireball is an impressive task. I was not that impressive as a kid.
Now they come in smaller, chewy form, which makes them much more manageable, size-wise, at least. My 8 year-old self could have used these to train myself up to the full jawbreaker version. I got this fun-sized bag as a free sample from the NCA.
The chewies were about the size of a Lemonhead. No surprise there, as they’re made by the same company (Ferrara Pan).
They had a hard candy shell that cracked when I bit into it. Inside was dense, grainy, and chewy. It was kind of like a grainy jelly bean (the cheap store brand kind), only spherical.
They tasted like chewy Red Hots (also made by Ferrara Pan), all sweet and spicy candy cinnamon. They left a tingly burn on the tongue that was strong and just a tad painful.
They had a vaguely plasticky finish, but it wasn’t too noticeable, as the burn took center stage. I think these may have been even hotter than the original because all that chewing released more spiciness, but I’m not sure…
It’s been a while since I’ve had a real Fireball, so maybe the original’s burn has dissipated in my memory. An O from me, but if you love the original, these are definitely worth a try.
It was billed as “candy straws in 4 different flavors. Strawberry, Apple/Peach, Raspberry/Grape, & Tutti Frutti.”
The straws were stiff, plasticky tubes with long grooves down the sides. All were sprinkled with sugar granules that were brightly sweet and lightly sour.
Red was maybe strawberry? It sorted of tasted like red fruit.
Purple was the Raspberry/Grape. It had a strong seediness with the plastic tinge of red Twizzlers.
Yellow was sweet with just a hint of pear, followed by a plasticky bite. Orange just tastes sweet and plasticky. I have no clue which of these two is supposed to be Tutti Frutti and which is Apple/Peach.
All were too wheaty and plastic-tasting to be palatable. A definite –. I’d rather have Sour Punch Straws, which at least have some discernible flavors.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Mentos – I grew up on their corny “Freshmaker” commercials.
I got these Fuji Apple Mentos in a box of free samples from tsunami.hk. It’s a flavor that I’ve never seen in the U.S. I guess they’re only available in Asia.
Like all Mentos, it had a hard shell that cracks and splinters when bitten into. Inside, the Mentos (Mento?) was extremely chewy, with a slight grain to the chew.
The flavor was that of super sweet apple juice. While the flavor was pretty spot-on, it was too sweet for my taste, with nothing else to temper the pure sugary-ness.
I think it needed a bit of sourness or some other note to bring some complexity and to counteract that sweetness. That’s my beef with Fuji apples too, so I guess you can’t blame Mentos for being accurate. An O.
They came in two flavor combinations: watermelon/green apple and cherry/orange. All of them had a fine granulated sugar on the surface, a chewy, soft licorice-textured shell, and a soft, smooth paste filling.
Watermelon /green apple had a pink watermelon shell with a green apple filling.
It tasted mostly of watermelon, with a bit of a plasticky finish. The watermelon shell was sweet and floral, while the green apple was like a mild green apple Jolly Rancher.
Cherry/orange had a red cherry shell with an orange filling. Here, the filling was the overwhelming flavor. The cherry part tasted like a red popsicle, while the orange tasted like my ideal candy citrus flavor – sweet and slightly tart.
These aren’t perfect, but I’ll still give them an OM. They’re a little too sweet, but they’re a nice change of pace and reminiscent of my beloved filled licorice.
I’m super familiar with their hard candies and lollipops, and I’ve even had their fruit chew-filled lollipops, but this was the first time that I’ve had just the fruit chews.
They came in four flavors: cherry, watermelon, green apple, and blue raspberry. All were individually wrapped in colored paper. Not all of them unwrapped cleanly – sometimes bits of paper clung to the candies.
They were soft and extremely chewy, almost taffy-like. And they were extremely prone to sticking in the nooks and crannies of my teeth as they neared the end of their chew.
Cherry was red. It initially tasted of plasticky and papery overtones before yielding to a bright, fruity sweetness. It didn’t make me think cherry, and the plastic overtones were really off-putting.
Watermelon was pink. It tasted quite true to watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher hard candies. It was bright and sour, with a tinge of almost-citrus.
Green apple was a neon lime-green. It too, tasted just like its hard candy counterpart. There was a faint petrol hint to the flavor, but it mostly tasted of a nice candied green apple favor with a tinge of sourness.
Finally, blue raspberry was a bright, not-found-in-nature blue. For no conceivable reason other than that candymakers decided that candy raspberries should be blue.
It had a strong seedy olfactory bite that I hate in the hard candy version of raspberry Jolly Ranches. There was a solid, nearly bitter bite to the finish that rendered me unable to finish the chew.
I enjoyed the green apple and watermelon but didn’t care for cherry or blue raspberry. I much prefer Starburst, which have a stiffer chew and better flavors. A – for the blue raspberry and cherry. O for the other two.
These soda flavored Morinaga Hi-Chews came as free samples from Tsunami.hk. Look at the lovely effervescence on those wrappers!
They came in three flavors: lemon soda, cola, and white soda. If you’ve never had them before, Hi-Chews are individually wrapped, rectangularly shaped chews that are usually fruit flavored.
Their chew is bouncy and mostly not sticky, except when you get to the end. Then they can get really sticky and worm their way into the nooks and crannies of your teeth.
The three flavors were easy to visually distinguish. Cola was an unappetizing shade of brown with just a tinge of booger-green.
Fortunately, its flavor was spot on. It tasted genuinely of cola, with notes of lemon and caramel.
Lemon soda was the pale but vaguely psychedelic color of lemon meringue. It had a supremely zesty bite with a hint of pithiness.
That light bitterness was nicely ameliorated by the taste of brightly sour lemonade. I really appreciated its complexity and the fact that it didn’t coddle your tastebuds.
White soda was the one that was most foreign to my tastebuds. When I tasted it (not consulting my helpful translation notes from Tsunami.hk), I was expecting ramune flavor, which is citrusy.
Instead, it initially tasted neutrally sweet with a faint strawberry fruitiness. Then, it transitioned to carrying a hint of liquid sour yogurt, which is a yogurt-flavored drink that you can buy in Asian grocery stores (the name’s literal translation from Chinese is “sour milk”). It was nothing like ramune!