Dagashi, 14 Candies Every Japanese Grew Up With

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  • We all grew up with some simple candies that we will never forget, that bring back fond nostalgic memories of childhood. Running around in the hood, these candies are usually bought at mom-and-pop stores but may commonly be found at convenience stores now. These wallet-friendly candies are known as dagashi 駄菓子, or “cheap sweets”. Here are some iconic Japanese candies that have been around for a long time, and are very yummy!

    1. Ame

    ame

    Ame 飴 are boiled sweets that come in various shapes and colors. They’re almost too pretty to eat!

    2. Whistle Candy aka Fu-e Ramune フエラムネ

    fue-ramune

    As the name suggests, a whistling sound is made when blowing through the candy hole. The pack sometimes comes with a surprise toy!

    3. Little Bob Dog “Cigarette” Candy

    bobdog

    The name comes from the long stick shape of the candy. The original red pack is cola-flavored, the pink pack is strawberry, and the blue is soda!

    4. Ramune soda balls

    ramune-soda

    Much like the drink, the bottle is also sealed with a glass ball and the candies are lemonade soda flavored. The candies are made of compressed powder and hence have a melt-in-the-mouth texture. They also come in an alternative packaging, in neon colored microphones.

    5. Morinaga Chocoballs

    choco-ball

    Chocolate balls filled with peanut, caramel, strawberry and other seasonal flavors. The cute crow is especially popular among kids!

    6. Milk Caramels

    milk-cara

    Even the packaging is so old school! This milk caramel ミルクキャラメル from Morinaga has been around for more than a century and comes in flavors like azuki bean, matcha and coffee.

    7. Meiji Apollo and Choco-Baby

    choco-baby

    Apollo アポロ takes the cake; strawberry capped milk chocolate has never tasted so good. Choco-baby are little tablets of small-sized chocolate. Lady luck is on your side if you find one with a star printed on the side! Meiji also has an assorted mini fun pack that includes 5 varieties of chocolate.

    8. Kinoko no Yama

    kinoko

    Kinoko きのこ means mushroom, and the chocolates look exactly like mushrooms! Pretzel stems with creamy milky chocolate caps. Takenoko たけのこ, or bamboo shoot, is a more stumpy variety. It comes in flavors like strawberry, kinako soy powder, and also seasonal flavors like pumpkin or matcha!

    9. Peko-Poko Chocolate Lollies

    pekopoko

    Adorable characters with milk, white and strawberry chocolate on a stick. An absolute fun to eat!

    10. Every Burger

    every-burger

    Mini burger cookies that have milk chocolate “patties” and white chocolate “cheese”. Delightful! Comes in inversely colored cookies and cream flavor as well.

    11. Marukawa Bubblegum

    marukawa

    These mini gumballs come in equally tiny boxes in an assortment of fruit flavors. I remember chewing of these as a kid; they have become very international!

    12. Felix Bubblegum

    felix-gum

    Each individually wrapped strawberry flavored gum comes packed with amidakuji 阿弥陀籤 and a lottery slip. Amidakuji, or ghost leg game, is basically trying to get from one point to another (where the prize is) by connected lines that have various paths and hence many outcomes. There is also a bear version that comes with temporary tattoos.

    13. Umaibo

    Umaibo うまい棒 means delicious stick, and is a puffed corn snack that comes in a plethora of flavors such as corn potage and grilled chicken. Very addictive!

    14. Botan Ame

    Botan ame 文旦飴 is a chewy rice candy that is bontan ボンタン (pomelo) flavored and has been around since 1926. These rice candies are wrapped in an edible sticky film. Botan candies are also sold in North America!

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    “Dagashi”: The most nostalgic Japanese snacks