Ice Breakers Review

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Based upon my love of the Mintia mints I decided to branch out to an almost identical competing brand Ice Breakers.
Although similarly shaped and packaged the novelty Ice Breakers bring to the table is that rather being cool and minty as the name might imply they are in fact sour!
So far I have only come across 5 flavours, all if which I’m quite fond of, lets take a look at each!

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Ice Breakers – Sour Lemon

These would be what I consider to the the flagship flavor of the brand, slightly sour and fizzy they bring the lemon candy taste to the table right off the bat! A lot bolder than most of its Mintia counterparts, the only criticisms i have for the Sour Lemon flavour is that it breaks apart and dissolves quite rapidly and can get a little sickly if you choose to consume too many.
On a final note it leaves the mouth with an almost minty cool chill.
4/5

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Ice Breakers – Sour Blood Orange

Next up is Sour Blood Orange, although they feel remarkably similar as the Sour Lemon flavour when you pop one in your mouth and dissolve just as fast I feel they lack the kick of their cousins. The overall feeling I get from them is disappointment and a since of deflation, perhaps ultimate deliciousness is just too much to ask of an orange flavored candy……..
3.75/5

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Ice Breakers – Sour Green Apple
Ok we’re seeing a trend here with extremely similar tasting flavours, these ones at least have a slight green tint to the particles in them so I can tell them apart…… That said its not that their not delicious, only that they taste 90% the same as the lemon flavour.
Honestly though although its not appleish in the least they have this certain tanginess to them that is a little bit amazing. Definitely have won a place in my heart as an amazing sour candy!
4.25/5

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Ice Breakers – Sour Grape

Last but not least we have the Sour Grape flavour, these taste quite similar to the grape Minita just with an awesome sour fizziness to them! That said these really bring the sour to the table, not in a puckering way but at least it’s a lot more prominent that in the other Ice Breakers varieties.
Again the only way I can tell them apart from the others if I mix them up is by the purplish colouring that indicates the grape flavouring, still awesome!!
4.25/5

Mintia ミンティア Reviews Part 2

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So there shall be a part 2 (and probably a part 3) to my Mintia ミンティア reviews, mostly as I’m completely addicted and there just seems to be a plethora of obscure flavours available if you keep an eye out for them!

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Mintia – Relax Shower

Honestly I’m really unsure as to what this flavour is supposed to be, they are certainly one of the mint based varieties of Mintia however the flavour is weak up forgettable.
Lets just say if Relax Shower was a going to a Mintia Hollywood party it would be the one to arrive after all the coke had been finished and their was already a dead stripper floating in the pool. Oddly enough it’s vaguely spicy at times but not in a good way.
To its credit the name Relax Shower did amuse the Daniel. Still Fail.
2/5

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Mintia – Miracle Cherry
ミラクルチェリ

Now these I had high hopes for based on the fact it has miracle in the title and the shininess of the packaging, donning holographic stickers, sparkles and the promise of rekindling the joyful memories of ones childhood.
Unfortunately the mints themselves tasted like something more akin to the cherry candies that kids tend not to like as they taste like something akin to cough syrup.
Also as a side note some of them have little Sakura shapes imprinted into them but for some reason oddly not all….
That said their not horrible, just kind of a meh and deflated weak artificial cherry taste. Whats worse their kinda gritty to the point it feels like your eating flour at times, needless to say they certainly don’t live up to their implied promises of unicorns and rainbows, leaving my childhood vigor unkindled.
3/5

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Mintia – Honey Ginger

I love EVERYTHING about the Honey Ginger Mintia! I truly believe these could possibly be my favourite, which makes me a little sad seeing as they are quite hard to come by!!
Anyhow to begin with the packing itself is a pleasant opaque mustard colour matching the feel of the flavour.
This is one Mintia that dominates in an area where most others fell short, it has the perfect balance of a subtle sweet honey flavour whilst occasionally a secondary ginger note finds its way through. Hardly seeming like a mint at all the experience is more akin to eating candy, and so I find myself vacuuming these delicious honey treats up!!!
If you come across these bad boys BUY BUY BUY!!!!
(Daniel hopes a Mintia marketing manager will come across this post and send him a crate of these)
4.75/5

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Mintia – Dry Hard

Now these fiery little balls of pain have got to be if not the strongest mints I’v ever tried then at least strongest Mintia flavour.
They also have this written on the front of the pack
カフェイン・カフセル配合
which translates to caffeine formulation, so the kick they give you is not just the insane amount if mint but also a Caffeine one also, just how many mg each brings to the table I can not tell you as it is not written on either the pack or the website. I often put a couple different flavored Mintia in my desk at work and chuck one of these in as a minty Russian roulette of sorts……. Yeah I get bored.
3.5/5

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Mintia – Cassis Orange
カシスオレンジ

Cassis Orange is one of the more pleasing Minta flavours, very sweet and addictive not entirely unlike the Aqua Sparkle ones and so often find myself devouring one after another!
Underneath the name on the front it reads オレンジ果汁+オレンジアロアビース配合
apparently this means blended orange juice and orange aroma beads were used in the ingredients.

The pills themselves have a nice pink colour fitting to the flavour, however although I enjoy them thoroughly and will certainly buy them again they are still nothing to write home about.
Just as a side note Cassis is the French word for black-current which the Japanese adopted, I only mention this as it was months before I worked what the hell cassis berry were myself XD
4/5

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Mintia – Lemon Ginger
レモンジンジャー

Unfortunately unlike its other Ginger cousin Honey Ginger these do not pack anywhere near the same punch.
I found the ginger to be all but a frail aftertaste and the body to be nothing more than a weak lemony taste.
Although not entirely unpleasant these wouldn’t even make it into my Top 10 Mintia flavours.
2.5/5

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 10 – Kaki Mochi 柿餅

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Welcome to Chapter 10 of the Mochi Diaries, Kaki Mochi 柿餅!

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During a recent trip to Nara I picked up one of these boxes, having quite the affinity for anything Kaki 柿 (Japanese Persimmon) related I was quite excited to have a nom these guys.

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Now firstly upon opening them I was completely taken aback at the intricate detail that went into producing every single mochi in the box!

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Made to resemble the fruit of which they are flavored the mochi consist of four separate ingredients.

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I translated the important bit of the diagram above that came in the box explaining what they are made of.

Essentially they are mostly kaki flavored mochi filled with a core of kaki an 柿あん (persimmon flavored red bean paste).
The leaves are made of dango 団子 held in place by a thin piece of konbu 昆布 (dried sea kelp), honestly the konbu is some what annoying since you must remove it before eating each mochi being inedible.

So you ask, ‘but Daniel what is the difference between mochi and dango?’
Well they are pretty much the same thing, the only difference being in the technique used to make them.

When making mochi, you begin by grinding glutinous rice to a paste which is then steamed and l finally pounded into a sticky dough.
Dango on the other hand is made from rice flour that has been mixed with hot water to make a dough, before being boiled in salted water.

Anyhow beyond the novelty of the mochi, the taste was just ok, that said it was more than made up for by the awesomeness of the presentation of the sweets!
3.75/5

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 9 – Mochitsuki Special Edition 餅搗き増刊

<———– Last

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 11 – Kagami Mochi 鏡餅

Next ———>

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 8 – Kuri Yatsuhashi 栗八つ橋

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Yes today I bring to you yet another yatsuhashi instalment of The Mochi Diaries, and so this is Chapter 8 – Kuri Yatsuhashi 栗八つ橋.

The Kuri 栗 (chestnut) flavour is a popular mochi filling at this time of year as we are half way through Aki 秋(autumn).

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Of corse there is to be an autumn variation of yatsuhashi and I came across this box at my favourite omiyage shop in Osaka a few weeks ago.

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I’v tried many kuri flavored mochi in the past so I went in pretty much knowing exactly what to expect, however there is the addition of the awesome texture of the yatsuhashi wrappings that always brings the mochi noming experience up to the next level.

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This aside I think I can safely say that these are my least favourite of the yatsuhashi flavours I have tried thus far.
I find the the Japanese autumn flavours to be on the bland side of things, having a large emphasis on starchy vegetables such as Kabocha 南瓜 (Pumpkin), Kuri 栗 (Chestnuts) and Satsumaimo さつま芋 (Sweet Potato). This really shined through with these kuri yatsuhashi, filled with the vaguely sweet kuri paste which I feel doesn’t compliment the outer mochi all that amazingly.
Regardless I still ate them all hungrily however in the future I think I’d prefer to stick with the more traditional cinnamon variety.
3/5

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 7 – Ninja (Kusa) Dango 草餅

<———– Last

 The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 9 – Mochitsuki Special Edition 餅搗き増刊

Next ———>

Popin’ Cookin’ – Curry Set (Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures: Part 2)

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I know it’s been a long while since I published the first installment of ‘Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures’ but every step of creating these posts is very time consuming so I have been subconsciously putting off creating Part 2, alas it is now complete so please enjoy. Popin’ Cookin’ – Curry Set (Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures: Part 2)

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In this kit we shall be making karē raisu カレーライス (curry rice) and accompanying Korokke コロッケ (croquettes) a popular dish in Japan. Keep in mind like the last entry where I made gyoza and ramen, similarly these tiny dishes are actually savoury.

First things first take your various bowls and cut them up accordingly, this will make things easier. If you like you can also trim around the round serving bowl to make it a tad more aesthetically pleasing.

First we will be making the rice so grab the blue packet ライス.

Pour the entire contents of the rice packet along with not one but TWO measures of water into the almost rectangular container and mix it until it becomes fluffy.

Once your done transfer your ‘rice’ to the serving bowl, covering 2/3rds of one side as I have done.

Next up were making the Korokke コロッケ so grab the orange pack labeled Poteto ポテト (Potato).

Once again pour the packet into the almost rectangular container along with ONE measure of water and mix until you can roll it into a doughy ball.

Spit the dough in half, transfer to a plate and mold them to whatever takes your fancy. I went with a star and heart, this can be a little tricky to do ebtirely with you fingers, so use the mixing spoon as it is flat.

Once your done, temporarily set them aside.

Take the bag of crispy balls and crush them to dust prior to opening them.

Once again pour the crushed balls into the almost rectangular container.

Then proceed to roll your potato shapes in the crispy coating until they are well covered.

Once again set them aside as they are all done!

For the final step grab the brown packet labeled カレー (curry) and pour it into the almost rectangle container.

Add ONE measure of water to the powder and mix thoroughly until it is a thick brown paste.

Transfer your finished curry to the serving bowl in the empty third alongside your rice and your done!

There you have it the finished dish カレーライス コロッケ セット(curry rice and croquette set meal) !

Score
Funness (楽しい) – 4/5
Tastiness (美味しい) – 3.5/5
Authenticness (正真正銘) – 4.5/5
Overall impression (全体の印象) – 4/5

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 7 – Ninja (Kusa) Dango 草餅

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Today I bring to the table The Mochi Diaries Chapter 7 – Ninja (Kusa) Dango 草餅

As a foreword this mochi doesn’t actually have anything to do with ninja, in fact rather than mochi todays review is on kusa dango 草団子 (grass dango). Dango whilst being almost identical to mochi is a separate type of wagashi, generally speaking the difference is that mochi is made by pounding glutinous rice into a dough where as dango is made by adding water to mochiko 餅粉 (glutinous rice flour) and boiling or grilling the resulting dough.

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Now the reason I suspect for the whole ninja packaging is due to the fact that kusa 草 the kanji for grass, though in modern Japanese it is now an archaic reading 草 was once  could be read to mean ‘ninja’, so it’s essentially a pun.

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Unlike any mochi 餅 or dango 団子 I have reviewed thus far, as opposed to the usual mochi outer layer filled with a sweet centre (usually azuki あずき) this kusa dango lies on a bed of anko 餡こ (sweetened red bean paste).

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Rather than just popping them in your mouth, a small a small spoon is provided to scoop the dango up with a little anko on the side.
Fair nomnomnom 3.5/5

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Now as a little bonus, if you have never seen one of these before its a kakigoori かき氷 (shaved ice) machine. During the summer I became somewhat addicted to these delicious treats as they are a great way to cool down. Popular matsuri 祭 (festival) snacks, they come in a wide array of flavours.

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Using the kusa dango I decided to make the traditional ujikintoki kakigori which is topped with sweetened red bean paste, dango and often capped with condensed milk.

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 6 – Goma Yatsuhashi 胡麻 八つ橋

<———– Last

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 8 – Kuri Yatsuhashi 栗八つ橋

Next ———>

Mintia ミンティア Reviews

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Mintia ミンティア are a sugarfree Japanese candy that I recently discovered (having previously overlooked much of the candy isle) and subsequently became infatuated with.
If your the type to count calories these are fantastic as not only do they pack quite the punch, but each 0.14 gram pastel only has half a calorie or 2kj!

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Mintia – Juicy Grape
ジューシーグレープ
I bought these ones just because the name of the flavor made me laugh.
Quite comically it says 果汁 20% UP in the bottom left corner, which basically means 20% more fruit juice….. so compared to what exactly???? Really how much fruit can you really fit into a 7g pack of mints anyway, perhaps that what the little purple dots in the pastels are XD
That said there fairly tasty.
3.5/5

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Mintia – Lemon & Lime Mint
レモンライムミント
This flavor being a mint kind has overpowering mint tones to it and only the most subtle citrus notes.
Texture wise the are a lot smoother than the fruity pastels and feel a bit more artificial in the mouth (if that’s at all possible), they also have a light lime setting them apart from the usual white.
The redeeming trait the Lemon & Lime flavor brings to the table, is that they contain tiny tiny little yellow crystals in them that slowly break away from the pastel as you eat them and when bitten release a pleasant citrus burst.
3.5/5

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Mintia – Aqua Sparking
アクアスパーク
This is definitely my favorite flavor! I get a real Ramune ラムネ vibe from these, very sweet and candy like, really feel like your eating something naughty and sugar filled as opposed to a tiny mint. One of the winning points of Mintia is their ability to fill your whole mouth with flavor and the Aqua Sparking captures this perfectly!
おすすめ 4.5/5

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Mintia – Rich Mix
リッチミックス
This is one of the more tasty Mintia varieties, since it is apparently pineapple, lime and mango flavored. You can definitely taste tones of fruit punch in this one and it will certainly get 2 thumbs up from me.
おすすめ 4/5

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Mintia – Jasmine Tea Mint
ジャスミンティーミント
Certainly very different from the usual fruit or straight up mint Mintia’s, Jasmine Tea Mint really does have an authentic albite subtle tea flavor. However I fell as though it is all but overpowered by a strong minty overtone, I would have much preferred this flavor minus the mint. Still not bad.
3.5/5

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Mintia – Juicy Navel
ジューシーネーブル
Ok so the name of this one is a bit retarded, basically what they mean by ネーブル (navel) is ネーブルオレンジ (navel oranges).
Looking past the name there really isn’t all that much to these orange flavored pastels, I really consider them to be incredibly bland and lacking the punch of some of the other Mintia’s.
I guess that 果汁20% UP that the Grape Minita brought to the table must have really been worth something =p
At the end of the day just OK, but I wouldn’t buy them again.
2.5/5

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Mintia – SHARP EVER

Not being a huge fan of anything mint in general I went I trying this flavor with reservations, however I was quite pleasantly surprised.
Sporting a lime green colour, they are not incredibly overpowering. Yet are also filled with similar little beads as the Lemon & Lime Mint flavor which is nice addition. Still I prefer the fruit flavors any day!
3.5/5

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Mintia – Rich Grapefruit
リッチグレープフルーツ
Being quite the fan of grapefruit in general these were sure to be a hit.
Although only being only mildly sour, they really do have a taste that most closely resembles the fruit that they are apparently imitating much better than other mintia flavours.
Could it be that the little yellow chips in each pastel are actually real grapefruit….. Well I this I doubt but they did a good job anyhow!
4/5

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Mintia – Salty Ume (Umeboshi 梅干し)
塩ウメ
This one took a while to grow on me, not widely available, I have only occasional seen it at the odd conbini.
Umeboshi 梅干し (Dried Japanese apricots) are perhaps not my favourite Japanese food, they are renowned for being an acquired taste and extremely salty.
When I first accidentally bought an umeboshi onigiri I spat it out horrified, however slowly slowly I have grown accustomed and now I can even stomach eating a few straight up.
Now quite surprisingly for an umeboshi flavored candy the initial taste was in a word is at first ‘underwhelming’, however the deliciousness finds its way through as you suck on it. Slightly puckering and sour I found them quite delightful after a few, however unlike the other Mintia these guys will burn a hole in your tongue if you eat too many.
おすすめ 4/5.

Popin’ Cookin’ – Ramen & Gyoza (Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures: Part 1)

Welcome to Part 1 one of ‘Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures’ めっちゃ美味しい日本のお菓子冒険者
Japanese candy has always been a mysterious and intriguing thing to me having seen many of them on the interwebs over the years as ordering them abroad is fairly cost prohibitive.
Alas now that I have arrived in the orient former barriers to deliciousness have been lifted so I intend to spend the next few months sampling and reviewing the plethora of candy mini meal sets on offer.
So what is Popin’ Cookin’? Basically fun interactive candy kits that let you make your own mini gummy that look like food!!

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Alas I present to you the first of many: Popin’ Cookin’ – Ramen & Gyoza
(ポッピンクッキン ラーメンセットの作り方)

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This array of packets makes up the contents of the kit, which will be used to make a mini bowl of ramen and 2 candy gyoza.

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So first step is to whack the brown packet in the ramen bowl and add some water, if you like you can cut out the plastic containers like I did (it’s more kawaii that way)

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Alright next up the yellow sachet with one measure of water will be used to make you ramen noodles, so mix that up until it’s a thick paste.

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Take the plastic bag provided and use the toothpick to make a tiny hole in the corner. Load the corner with the whole up with you noodle paste.

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Finally like you icing a cake squeeze that yellow paste through the toothpick hole straight into the broth…… And your done with your first dish ^_^

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Next were onto the gyoza so take your candy dough, cut it in half then roll each piece out into as flat a circle as you can manage!

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Once their flat as pancakes, take the 100’s n’ 1000’s type filling and place it in the centre of both you gyoza skins
allowing enough room round the edges to seal it up.

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Once you got your filing sorted close up the edges, shaping them to look like real gyoza with your nails.

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Andddddd that’s pretty much it, display them however you like, just make sure to get your nom on caz they are fair tasty.
The most surprising thing about this kit for me personally would have to the fact that the ramen was not candy, but instead emulated real ramen in terms of taste and texture.

All in all for my first time dabbling in the world of Japanese candy I found the whole experience to be quite fun and ingenious, of there all this good I’ll be wasting a lot of money on this stuff in the future.

Popin’ Cookin’ – Ramen & Gyoza
Score
Funness (楽しい) – 4.5/5
Tastiness (美味しい) – 3.5/5
Authenticness (正真正銘) – 3/5
Overall impression (全体の印象) – 4/5