Monday, February 16, 2009

Hakuto Kanten Jelly Candy (Peach)

The pink square at the top says in English, "The good jelly by which a fresh fruit was made with fruit juise (sic)."

In the modern world, one of our biggest quests is to be able to find something which is traditionally considered bad for you and alter it so that it is good for you. Kanten, which is the Japanese word for agar agar, has the potential to be that sort of food. Kanten is derived from seaweed and is 80% fiber. When you eat it, it expands in your stomach and absorbs water so you feel fuller. There are a variety of Japanese sweets made with kanten and jelly candies like the one I'm reviewing in this post are one of the easiest ways to enjoy and ingest kanten.

These candies look like a Sunkist fruit gem. They're covered in sugar and have a similar texture to a fruit gem, though they are a bit softer. The sugar on the outside isn't as grainy as those on American jelly candies, which is somewhat disappointing as I like the contrast of the texture of granulated sugar on jelly candies and the jelly interior. You don't really get an impression of the texture of sugar, but you do get the sweetness.

These candies smell a bit like pears or peaches. The taste is very peach-like and quite sweet, though not in a throat-burning way. These are quite pleasant, but I'd prefer a citrus-flavored jelly so that there was some sourness or citrus bite to offset the sweetness. The company that makes these has no online profile, so I couldn't find out anything about them including whether or not their product line includes other flavors.

The bag contains information about ingredients, but no calorie details. Since the first ingredient is sugar, and the second water, I'm guessing these aren't exactly healthy. However, you may find eating one or two more satisfying in the long run than a similar quantity of another sweet if the claims about fiber, expansion, and water absorption hold true.

You can buy kanten sweets in most Japanese markets. In fact, I've bought variety packs of Japanese candy before which included these types of jellies in other flavors, but these ones were much higher quality than the ones I've had before. Mainly, these have much better fruit flavor (real fruit is used) and a stronger taste overall than the average supermarket variety. These would make a nice souvenir for people who have outgrown super sweet candy or treats, or suit people who like jelly candies but want something with a potentially better nutritional profile. I'd definitely buy these again some time and I'd buy larger quantities if they had a citrus version.


Kelly said...

Is this similar in texture to a jube?

Orchid64 said...

Unfortunately, I've never had a jube, so I can't say. :-)

gurggreg said...

how do u actually make this recipe, cause i have looked and looked but there is no recipes... HELP!!! its relayed to school work btw

Orchid64 said...

Hi, gurggreg. I'm sorry, but I don't know how to make this. There is a recipe for it here that you may want to try: