Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coris Kinako Lumps

A lot of the snacks I review are variations on familiar food themes. Even something as uniquely Asian as a bean cake can be roughly approximated as a cake full of mashed beans and the reader can grasp the idea. Occasionally, I come across something which defies comparison, and then I have to wrack my fevered brain for a way to describe it that successfully conveys what it is. Of course, I could just give up and compare it to something vaguely similar and spare my neurons the overtime work.

These kinako dama ("lumps") candies, produced by a company called Coris that specializes in cheap kid's snacks, are definitely a horse of a different color. Coris is a relatively small company and you see their flavored lozenges that resemble a chalky lifesaver in the kiddy sections of many convenience stores and markets. This kinako snack was a new find for me so I picked it up when I saw the little packet for a mere 20 yen (24 cents) at Lawson 100. I also can't resist anything as elegantly named as "lumps".  The little bag holds 3 marble-size candies and each candy is 20 calories.

Each little ball is soft enough that you can squish it with your finger, but firm enough not to easily lose it's shape or be bruised. When you bite into it, it's sweet and has a relatively powerful kinako flavor, but is not overwhelming. The texture can be best likened to a grainy taffy without the stringy, chewy, sugary parts. It's like thick Play Dough in some ways.

The web site for these stresses that they are made with flour, and I think that these are really pretty much flour, sugar and kinako (toasted soy flour). They literally are little dough balls. While I enjoyed the taste of these quite a lot, and they certainly aren't unpleasant in any way, the overall texture just didn't do much for me. They are squishy enough to be like cookie dough, and not firm enough to really feel like candy. This is a new product and it'll be interesting to see if it catches on well enough to be around next year at this time. I liked it, but once was enough for me.

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