16 February, 2009

Sweet Suprises (Goodies From China, Part 2)

Digging further into the goodie bag that Stephanie sent from China, we find:

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar with "green tea" filling: Steph's package took a little over two months to travel from Shanghai to Connecticut, and on the way it apparently encountered some temperature variations. As a result, this Hershey bar was not really in optimal condition when I opened it - you can see in the photo that there seems to be a little meltiness to the bar, and the slight greenish tinge to the chocolate is perhaps caused by the color of the filling migrating into the outer bar.

Biting into the Hershey's green tea bar is almost exactly the same as biting a standard Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar. The chocolate is an overwhelming first flavor, and it has every characteristic of Hershey's Pennsylvania-made product, right down to the slightly "cheesy" flavor unique to Hershey's. I tasted the green tea filling alone, and it hasn't got much initial flavor of its own other than "sweet." What makes this bar unique, though, is the marvelous and rich green tea aftertaste. I had just about shrugged off this candy as unremarkable when the green tea flavor came through and surprised me.

Nin Jiom Herbal Candy: The flavor of these marvelous little drops is difficult to describe. They're similar to the Riccola herbal cough drops, but perhaps a bit sweeter with more of a traditional candy-like flavor, and they're loaded with menthol.

They are also the best thing ever for soothing a sore throat. Halfway through one of these little drops and my daughter's horribly irritated throat was comfortable enough again that she could comfortably swallow.

A quick web search revealed that Nin Jiom is indeed a highly-regarded herbal remedy for sore throats, coughs, and colds in China, and that there are liquid preparations as well, most of which are sold at Chinese pharmacies in the US. The next time I'm down at Dong's Supermarket, I'll be spending some time at the medicine counter to see if they have any Nin Jiom.

Filled Marshmallow Candies: These are small individually wrapped 1-inch round marshmallow pillows filled with various sweets. Stephanie sent a big handful which included two varieties: grape and "pudding." The grape flavor had a pale purple grape jelly inside, and the "pudding" ones had a translucent amber chewy stuff that tasted similar to vanilla custard. A little too sugary for my tastes, but popular with kids.

Corn Jelly: If these were being actively marketed in the US, they'd be called Gummi Corn. They are inch-long gummis made in the shape of a tiny ear of corn - and they taste exactly like biting into flavorful corn on the cob. I'm not kidding.

Smoked Plum: Each of these sugar-packet-sized wrappers contain two small sugarplum prunes, unpitted. I'm not sure whether they are actually dried over smoke, or smoked as a final step after they are dried, but they do indeed have a slightly resinous pine smoke flavor coupled with the taste of the ever-present five-spice mix that seems to be really common in the snacks Steph has sent.

That flavor combination sounds like it should be awful, but it works well, especially because they're also just a bit salty. The sweet dark fruitiness of the prunes, the earthy smoke flavor, and the salt/five-spice combination produce a very unique snack.

1 comment:

Stephanie/Sproffee said...


I was wondering when you would talk about some more of the stuff I sent. :-)