Thursday, August 11, 2011
Mintia Summer Powerful Plum
Beavis and Butthead is coming back to MTV, and this may seem like a strange association, but I sampled this Mintia in honor of their return. If you weren't around during this particular era, the dynamic dimwits used to hawk Mintia in Japan. I'm not really much of a mint fan, which is odd since I've become such a gum fan and the two tend to go hand in hand and I never tried Mintia before this. However, I do like Beavis and Butthead, and you can reach whatever conclusions that you like about me as a consequence of that admission. I'm secure enough in my intellect not to feel that liking really dumb comedy reflects poorly on me. Really. I'm not insecure. Nope.
I chose this flavor because it's about as Japanese a flavor as one is going to get. There are little blobs of what look like umeboshi (pickled plum) dancing over a Hiroshige-style wave. The little banner on the right is reminiscent of those that hang outside of shops, particularly when they advertise Japanese shaved ice (kakigori). I found this at Family Mart convenience store for 120 yen ($1.54) and snapped it up in a rush before heading back to work.
Plum can be a bit of a risky flavor in Japan, as I learned when a student once gave me a hard candy flavored with "ume". It was a horrendous mix of sour vinegar flavors and sweet sugary flavor with harsh plum. When I popped the top on this, it smelled funky, but also familiar. I recognized it as a scent reminiscent, but far from identical to umeboshi. This was worrying, but I gamely tried them anyway. Each mint is extremely tiny. In fact, I'd wager they are 1/3 to 1/2 the size of a Tic Tac. I had to eat about 3 at once to get a sense of the taste.
As for the flavor, it has the slight tang and sour flavor of pickled plum with a decent level of sweetness. It's an odd combo, but it works. In fact, it worked so well that I rubbed a sore spot on my tongue sucking on these things repeatedly. They're pressed powder and a bit abrasive so if you stupidly overdo it, like I did, then you're going to regret it. I was surprised at how much I loved these, but they may not "work" for everyone.