Friday, February 10, 2012

Kikkoman Marron Soy Milk

There's no picture of the soy milk poured in a glass because it's just off-white liquid. You're not missing much.

Kikkoman is one of a few Japanese brands which is very familiar to most Americans, even those who are younger than the current crop of anime-watching, Pocky-crunching, Hi-Chew chewing Japanophiles. The reason for this is that Kikkoman's soy sauce was a staple featured product on game shows since the 70's. I remember watching "The Price Is Right" and having people guess the cost of a bottle of their sauce. I also remember their products being offered as "parting gifts" to losers on a variety of game shows. When it comes to brand name recognition, I'm guessing no Japanese product would cross demographic lines like Kikkoman does.

That being said, I never really paid attention to their other products, not even in Japan. Until I looked at the manufacturer of this soy milk, it didn't know Kikkoman made it. It's not that it even matters and it surely makes sense that a soy sauce maker would make soy milk as well, but mentally my brain isn't capable of lumping "black, salty sauce maker" with "white sweet milk maker". My brain has some issues, as I'm sure readers who catch my typed brain farts can attest to.

As I've mentioned before, I like soy milk just fine, but it has a lot of fat and sugar in it (at least in Japan) and is more expensive than cow's milk. It took this very unusual flavor to get me to pop for my own carton of soy milk. I found this 200 ml. (1 cup) serving at Seiyu supermarket for 100 yen ($1.31). It mentions tasting like mont blanc cake, my favorite cake in all of the known universe. It's usually sold as a sponge cake with whipped cream and a pile of sweetened chestnut cream piped on top of it. I guess one might consider this a nutritious dessert drink, but there are a lot of additives in it including acacia gum, sorbitol, and dextrin. Sugar is also the second ingredient.

It should be no surprise that this is quite sweet considering the ingredient list. The flavor is intense at first, but mellows out as you drink more. It really does taste a lot like mont blanc, but without the accompanying textures and varying flavors (whipped cream, sponge cake), it feels "wrong". It's like eating the topping off the mont blanc cake without the satisfying texture. And, of course, it's hardly exactly the same since it also tastes like soy milk. That's not a bad thing at all. I liked this a fair bit, but I'm not sure I'd have it again because I'm not convinced it's good for me. On the bright side, the whole carton is only 104 calories so it's a modest indulgence.

I think I'd buy this again, but I don't tend to drink my sweets very often. I tend to prefer to eat them because I'm a texture junky. That being said, I think this might be a nice morning sweet drink with something blander alongside it (like a piece of toast). It'll also be a refreshing pick-me-up in the afternoon. Still, I can't see drinking it often because it is rather intensely sweet.


Sherry said...

While these flavored soy milks are very nice I think comparing them to regular soy milk is like comparing strawberry or chocolate milk to regular milk. Even with regular soy milk there is sweetened and unsweetened which makes a huge difference in taste and use. This one, like the othesr in the flavored lineup, is a sweet snack sort of treat. I'm sure you realize that. And the fat and sugar content varies greatly depending on the flavor. Regular soy milk does contain fat, slightly more than 2% milk. However, soy milk is naturally cholesterol free and has an extra dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that can effectively reduce your blood cholesterol level. So if you are simply looking at the fat content you are missing some info.

Orchid64 said...

I'm also looking at the calories, but there is also the concern (at least for me) about the effect of too much soy. Some bodies don't tolerate it well and it can have an effect on hormone balance.

As I said, I like soy milk, but I don't drink enough of any sort of milk to really buy it. I mainly put small amounts of milk in tea and coffee and soy milk doesn't quite work for me in that regard.

Will said...

Non-sweetened soy milk... finding good non-sweetened soy milk is somewhat of a challenge. In my mind, sugar just doesn't belong in soy milk.

p00lriah. said...

marron-flavored soy milk...sounds yum. speaking of which, since you're heading back to the states, you may encounter almond milk in markets. do not drink those, it's totally gross tasting.

btw, will you guys be blasting "goin' back to cali" on the way to the airport when u fly back to U.S.?

Jessi P. said...

that is funny, in the USA soy milk tends to be lower in fat/calories than regular milk, as well as not being sweet at all unless you purchase the vanilla or choccie variety (which is sweet but usually low fat). it seems to me like the japanese prefer less sweet but higher fat-- i wonder if that comes about from a low-fat diet of rice, fish, pickles, tea...? if you are not chomping down on combini snackage and karaage, you are probably eating pretty healthy, so i can see the draw to sweet fatty foods every once in a while to balance things out.

as an ovo-lacto vegetarian, much of japanese food is not on for me (though i recently found a fake-sesame-chicken-vegetarian ramen and fake chicken-mushroom/garlic ramen that taste like the real deal, yessss!!) because they sneak meat/fish flavoring into so many things. on the other hand, they handle mushrooms and soy in all its forms that i gotta give them props for supplying me with protein that i cannot critisize,,,

tho wtf my favorite import ramen brand no longer incues a block of dehydrated delicious fried tofu. that was the ONLY reason why i smacked down $2 per ramen bloc. WHHHYYYYYYY

Max said...

I'm probably stating the obvious here, but マロン ("maron") is from the French marron, chestnut.