Happy Birthday KyotoFoodie! Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food

Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food Presents! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie


Happy Birthday KyotoFoodie!

KyotoFoodie is now one year old and we are throwing a party with presents of Japanese ‘classic’ and ‘summer’ junk food!

Oh how time flies when you are blogging foodie. KyotoFoodie is now a yearling!

Continuing on the theme of our Win Fine Junk Food Help Improve KyotoFoodie Survey, we are going to give some Japanese junk food prizes to readers that subscribe to KyotoFoodie via email.

What should you do? Just go to that ‘Subscribe’ box at the top of the right column of the site and sign up. Be sure to confirm your subscription via the link sent to your email.

After 1 month we will randomly choose several subscribers to receive a present (see below). Winners will be contacted via email.

The Present — Classic and Summer Theme Junk Food
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie

Japanese ‘Summer’ Junk Food

It looks like the theme is watermelon this year. Watermelon and salt KitKat, now that IS funky!!

Summer Theme Junk Food – Watermelon and Salt KitKat!
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie
The package says to serve this KitKat chilled.

Summer Theme Junk Food – Watermelon and Salt KitKat!
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie
Notice the salt shaker on the lower right.

Summer Theme Junk Food – Watermelon Gummy
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie
This gummy comes in regular and sour watermelon flavors!

Japanese ‘Classical’ Junk Food

Bontan Ame (ぼんたん飴) – An Unusual Japanese Fruit

Bontan Ame Package
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie

Bontan Ame Candy
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie

About Bontan Ame
This candy (ame) is made from the bontan, also buntan (ぼんたん、文旦) fruit. This fruit is similar to a grapefruit but larger. Large specimens are the size of a volleyball. This fruit came to Japan from Southeast Asia so it grows in the southern-most island of Kyushu where the climate is most suitable.

Bontan ame was has been made by a company in Kagoshima City, Kyushu since 1926. It is said to be inspired by caramel. It is made of mochi, gyuhi, mizuame (traditional sweetener) and the bontan fruit juice.

Interestingly, each piece of candy is individually wrapped and is eaten with the wrapper on. The wrapper is made of oblaat which is gelatinous, transparent film that melts immediately on contact with the tongue. Oblaat originally came to Japan with Dutch medicine, it was used to wrap up bitter medicine in a package like modern-day gelatin capsules. In bontan ame it is utilized to prevent the sticky mochi-based ame pieces from sticking to one another.

Bontan ame is one of Paku’s favs.

Miyako Kombu (都こんぶ) – Kelp ‘Junk Food’

Classic Japanese Junk Food – Miyako Kombu
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie

Miyako Kombu – Strips of Flavored Kelp
Win Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie

Miyako Kombu is a very rags-to-riches, entrepreneurial story. A poor, elementary school educated apprentice laborer from Kyoto at a kombu company in Osaka worked at a machine cutting kombu. The edges of the kelp leaf were cut off and could not be sold. He often chewed them while working, both to pass time and to combat hunger pains and he thought that with some flavoring added he could create a product like chewing gum. In 1931, when he was 19 he started out on his own and began selling flavored kombu.

Unlike imported chewing gum, the flavor of Miyako Kombu was well suited to Japanese tastes. Miyako Kombu uses fine kombu from Hokkaido and is flavored with vinegar, sugar and bonito extract. It is quite sour.

The package is small, a little larger than a package of chewing gum and the kombu comes in strips. It is easily transportable and can be kept in a pocket, briefcase, school bag etc. Miyako Kombu sold especially well at train stations and quickly became popular throughout the entire country.

In an economy where the life of a product in a convenience store is about 6 weeks, Miyako Kombu can still be found in any convenience store, supermarket or station kiosk in the country and in its original 1930′s package!

13 Responses to “Happy Birthday KyotoFoodie! Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food”

  1. Sara says:

    How natsukashii!!! I lived in Kyoto for about five years in the 1970′s and I love reading about the new and old. Thank you.

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Sara, The 1970′s? How natsukashii indeed! I have a friend that was here then too. Kyoto was quite a different place then. You are lucky to have experienced it!

  3. P-T says:

    This looks great! I’m definitely going to subscribe seeing as how I check EVERYDAY to see if you’ve updated anyway……. just never occurred to me to subscribe to anything. Which means you will be my first subscription ever Kyoto Foodie! =)

  4. Peko Peko says:

    Hello P-T, Your first? Well, thank you! RSS and email subscription are pretty excellent. I enjoy getting several of my favorite blogs delivered right to my mailbox.

  5. pietra says:

    How fun! Love the photos as well! Good stuff.

  6. kat says:

    happy birthday!! I love bontan ame too, in Hawaii ours is called tomoe ame.

  7. Peko Peko says:

    Hello pietra, Thanks!

    hi kat, Yeah, I had that once as omiyage from a friend that went to Hawaii when I was in primary school. The tomoe wrapper is edible too, right? I had been wondering about the connection.

  8. Cindy says:

    I wanna try that kitkat so bad!!
    Watermelon and salt, very interesting!

  9. Debby says:

    I just found this site today, and it seems like I came at a good time! Just subscribed. I’ll be going to Kyoto this October, too, so this blog should be very helpful! 読むのを楽しみにしています!

  10. kat says:

    It’s a very interesting blog. I am quite curious to spend more time reading the archives. I hope some day to take advantage of all this information and go to Kyoto.

  11. Katey B says:

    Good post.

    Bontan-ame is one of my favorites. I remember the first time I ate it trying to remove the wrapper:)

    I also like the suika gumi.

    When I went to a movie for the 1st time in Kyoto (-’Lion King’) I couldn’t believe it when my Japanese friend bought konbu to snack on. As there was no popcorn or ice-cream to snack on I made a mad dash outside the theater to get something.

    MB

  12. [...] to all of you that took part in the Classic and Summer Theme Japanese Junk Food Presents! Subscribe to KyotoFoodie dealie and subscribed to [...]

  13. Arianna says:

    ARGH!!! and here I thought that I managed to ate all existing king of weird japanese KitKat!!! ….suika kitkat??? *食べたいな~!* ^_^

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