I’m in Japan – the mecca of novelty junk food! Of course, I sought out some new and quirky offerings. The traditional Snickers candy bar gets a paler makeover with white chocolate coating and lighter nougat filling. When I spied these on the shelf, they seemed so familiar, but I hadn’t seen or tried them before.
How is it?
When I unwrapped the candy bar, I didn’t know whether to bite into it or spread it on my toast. It looked like a stick of butter.
Once righted, I noticed the white chocolate coating was thin enough that I could make out individual nuts through it. ?
The caramel and peanuts here are the familiar and delicious Snickers taste combo, but the nougat is different. It’s slightly lighter in color and taste. I couldn’t tell if it was vanilla flavored or just generic “sugar.” It faded away behind the caramel, peanuts and white chocolate. I’m usually a big nougat fan, so this was a bummer.
The white chocolate in this candy bar was the dominant flavor, and very sweet. Cloyingly sweet to me. I found it a little off-putting. It also melted much quicker than the regular chocolate coating, so I ended up with white fingerprints all over my airline seat.
Is there anything else you need to know?
Staging an impromptu Snickers bar photo session on a plane will most certainly garner odd looks from the stranger sitting next to you. Be warned.
Snickers White comes off as a too-sweet, washed out photocopy of an actual Snickers. Not as exciting as Snickers’ other recent innovations.
Purchased Price: 140 yen (approx. $1.24 US) Size: 49 g bar Purchased at: Family Mart, Shibuya, Tokyo Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (per bar) 249 calories, 12.9 grams of fat, 4.9 grams of saturated fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, and 24.7 grams of sugar.
I’m in Japan – the mecca of novelty junk food! Of course, I sought out some new and quirky offerings. Coca-Cola has introduced a colorless version of its signature pop – trailing a quarter of a century behind Pepsi in the clear soda arms race. Without all that pesky caramel-y cola, it’s billed as lemon-flavored and is a zero-calorie drink. It is currently only available in Japan.
How is it?
Right out of the bottle, the aroma veers away from the usual Coke. It’s milder with a low-level citrus smell.
I was expecting something with a strong lemon taste, ala Sprite or 7Up, but this was subtler – like squeezing a lemon wedge into your already-sweet seltzer water and adding a dash of cola. Despite the lemon base, it was identifiable as a Coke derivative and had the same sweeteness level, but was lighter and brighter than regular Coca-Cola. It didn’t have the neon citrus feel of other sodas.
While not unpleasant, Coca-Cola Clear failed to establish its own flavor personality. Hence, it’s easier to describe what it ISN’T – it’s not cola, it’s not un-cola. Because of this vagueness of character, I wondered why this? Why now? Is 2018 the right time just because Coke hadn’t done it yet?
Is there anything else you need to know?
Be prepared for the pop. The Coke products I sampled in Japan were packaged in a way that caused the initial rush of gasses out of the bottles to be downright explosive. My travel companion and I startled each other all week with the loud cracks of Coke bottles opening.
Overall, an OK lightly lemon soda, but as Dr. Ian Malcolm would say – Coca-Cola scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. Try it if you’re a hardcore noveltyist, but only one bottle.
Purchased Price: 48 yen (approx. 69 cents US) Size: 500 ml bottle (17 oz.) Purchased at: MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya, Tokyo Rating: 5 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (100 ml) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of total sugars and 0 grams of protein.
They represent what’s out there. The great unknown. The vast expanses of the galaxy and the universe. And it saddens me that the national space program is in such a state of decline. If we don’t continue to expand our presence into the Local Group, how are we going to colonize and terraform Mars? How are we going to make first contact? How can we even start to think about making the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs?
The answer is that none of these things is going to be happening anytime soon unless we find a major reason to motivate us. Clearly the huddled masses aren’t interested in learning or human achievement, so I believe the motivation lies in snack food.
At some point, we’re going to run out of food ideas. Mathematically this seems inevitable. There is a finite number naturally occurring foods on our planet, so there is an equally finite number of ways to combine them. We are already there. When molecular gastronomists are forced reduce garden peas to their essence to be huffed from a balloon animal made from a section of a bison’s intestinal tract, it seems the end is almost nigh.
We’ve already started remixing with our processed foods. Bacon’s been smashed into every product in every grocery aisle. Name something you bought in October or November that didn’t have pumpkin in it. Impossible.
Even the corporations who are in charge of these things are running out of ideas. They’ve been reduced to farming out ideas to the common man through flavor contests.
The end is on its way, you guys. And that end, that day when everything has been combined with everything else, is going to be the day we head back into space. People may not be excited about studying moon rocks, but they’ll sure as hell be excited about the possibility of Limited Edition Romulan Ale Doritos and Blue Bantha Milk Oreos.
Until that day, we’ll continue dreaming and smashing together things we have. And we do that today with these Mountain Dew Cheetos from the Japanese arm of Frito-Lay.
As with the Pepsi-flavored Cheetos I reviewed a while back, the color of these things bothers me. Not making them bright Mountain Dew green is a wasted opportunity. This kind of product is a novelty and an attention getter, and their color should reflect that. Orange Cheetos-dusted fingers are a tradition. How great would obnoxiously green Mountain Dew Cheetos fingers be?! Pretty damn great.
The nosegrope of these Cheetos is very intensely citrus. There is a lot of lemon, and they smell sweet. There is also an underlying current of stale, flat cola. They smell very similar to the Pepsi Cheetos but with the lemon ratcheted up.
The flavor recreation they were going for falls a bit short of their goal. There is an initial blast of sour lemon flavor that is followed by some underlying sweetness. The lemon flavor tastes pretty artificial. I don’t have a problem with artificial flavors, obviously, but it tastes artificial to the point where it forces you to stop and think of the artificialness.
The sour blast is a bit too much here. It takes the Cheetos from the realm of “Mountain Dew” to the realm of…something with a lot of lemons. I know people who have consumed a Star Destroyer’s worth of Mountain Dew in their lives, and I’m not confident they could blind taste this and come up with anything other than a quizzical “something lemony.”
Like the Pepsi Cheetos, the aftertaste of these lingers for a very long time. I also didn’t get as much mouth-fizzing action as I hoped for. The Pepsi Cheetos are definitely the superior hybrid food, but that’s not saying a lot.
These are not bad. A lemon-flavored corn snack is not a terrible idea, but a lemon-flavored corn snack is really all we get here. Nothing transcendent, nothing revelatory. Just a good idea that is off the mark.
I’m already looking forward to Dr. Pepper Cheetos (and distantly to Klingon Bloodwine Kit Kats.) Until then!
(Nutrition Facts – 188 kcal, 10.3 grams of fat, 221 milligrams of sodium, 22.1 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.8 grams of protein.)
Item: Frito Lay Mountain Dew Corn Snack (Mountain Dew Cheetos) Purchased Price: $4.50 Size: 35 grams Purchased at: eBay Rating: 5 out of 10 Pros: Lemons. Sour blasts. Spaceships. Cons: Wrong color. Too much lemon to be Mountain Dew. Lingering aftertaste. Lack of fizz.
1. This commercial is old, because itâ€™s been awhile since Jean Claude Van Damme had fame.
2. Even in Japanese commercials, Jean Claude Van Damme sucks as an actor.
What makes Black Black Gum unique is its charcoal color and the fact that itâ€™s caffeinated, although I donâ€™t know how much caffeine is in each stick.
But I think itâ€™s safe to say that thereâ€™s not enough caffeine in it for me to go onto The Oprah Winfrey Show, jump on a couch, attack Oprah, and pretend Iâ€™m straight by saying I love Katie Holmes.
I guess itâ€™s sort of like Nicorette gum, except itâ€™s for those who like caffeine and think itâ€™s silly to always wear a beer hat filled with either Red Bull or Starbucks.
Along with the caffeine, this gum contains a nice list of some of my favorite Chinese herbs and flowers, like Bai Ling, Gong Li, and Zhang Ziyi.
Oh wait, Iâ€™m sorry. Thatâ€™s the list of my favorite sexy Chinese actresses.
Oolong tea, gingko, and chrysanthemum flower extracts are the favorite Chinese herbs and flowers found in Black Black Gum. These ingredients give the gum a nice minty flavor with a little bit of extra spice, which I think may make some people not enjoy it.
The mint flavor is initially very intense, like a powerful mint, but it quickly loses that intensity. It eventually loses all flavor in about 7 minutes, but I think people donâ€™t chew on this gum for the flavor, they chew it for the sweet, sweet fix of stimulating caffeine.
Mmm…Caffeine. It’s the drug choice of geeks and quasi-product review blog editors everywhere.
Item: Lotte Black Black Gum Purchase Price: $2.00 (9 sticks per pack) Rating: 7 out of 10 Pros: Nice minty taste. Caffeine. Helped me finish todayâ€™s review. Sweet caffeine. My list of sexy Chinese actresses. Sweet, sweet caffeine. Cons: Quickly loses minty intensity. Extra spice may make some people not like it. Jean Claude Van Dammeâ€™s acting abilities.