The 3 Best Ume Candies Widely Enjoyed in Japan
When it comes to the blossoms that represent Japan, the fact that we Japanese love “Sakura (桜)”, or cherry blossoms, is widely known.
Sakura blooms in spring, when Japanese people enjoy “Hanami (花見)” cherry blossom viewing.
Meanwhile, regarding winter blossoms familiar to us Japanese, it is generally considered that “Ume (梅)” is the quintessential Japanese winter blossom.
What is Ume Candy?
Ume is referred to as Japanese apricot in English which usually has white or pink blossoms. Besides, the Japanese winter tree bears fruit which is known as Ume plums.
Even if Ume plums get ripe enough, they don’t become sweet and feature strong acidity.
The Ume fruit is often used in Japanese cuisine, and even among the foods made with the plums, “Umeboshi (梅干し)” are widely enjoyed by us Japanese.
Ume plums are not only prepared for Japanese cuisine, but the winter fruit is also commonly used as a main ingredient in Japanese candies.
The candy whose main ingredient is the Ume fruit is referred to as Ume Candy in English.
The 3 Best and Most Beloved Ume Candies in Japan
Although in Japan, Ume Candy comes in various forms from hard candy to gummy candy, I think the hard candy is the most common type.
Therefore, this time I will introduce the 3 best and most beloved hard Ume candies in Japan for those who are interested in the sour sweet Japanese candy.
Ribon Nama Ume Plum Hard Candy (生梅飴)
|Ribon Nama Ume Plum Hard Candy|
The Japanese Ume candy produced and sold by Ribon, Nama Ume Plum Hard Candy has such a good reputation in Japan that many Japanese have said on the internet that it is the best and most delicious Ume candy.
This Ume-flavored candy especially features having a filling of fresh Umeboshi paste containing 50% Ume plum flesh in the center part.
As for the taste, the hard candy itself is gently sweet with a subtle Ume flavor, while the paste inside is somewhat sour with plenty of umami taste of Umeboshi.
The difference in taste and flavor between the outside and the inside makes the candy a delight.
Lotte Koume Candy (小梅)
|Lotte Koume Candy|
Lotte Koume Candy is one of the most famous Ume candies in Japan, which was introduced into Japan’s market by Lotte in 1974.
The package contains two types of hard Ume candies. Most are small, sweet Ume candy balls which are filled with a slightly sour Umeboshi paste in addition to being coated with a little salty Ume powder.
Only 2 pieces in the bag are big Ume candies which are sweeter than the small-size ones with an Umeboshi paste inside.
Nobel Otoko Ume Candy (男梅キャンディー)
|Nobel Otoko Ume Candy|
“Otoko Ume (男梅)” is Nobel’s popular series whose products are all made with Umeboshi plums.
There are a variety of products in the Otoko Ume series, from alcoholic drinks to candies, but even among those, this Otoko Ume candy is one of the best-selling items.
A piece of the Otoko Ume hard candy contains the same amount of Ume plum juice as a single Ume plum has, and because of this, the hard candy packs a lot of Umeboshi flavor in it.
The Otoko Ume candy is not sweet as compared to the above 2, but instead it has the most authentic Umeboshi flavor among these.