Hakka Ame: Classic Japanese Peppermint Candy
In Japan, there are quite a few unique candies that can’t be tasted in other parts of the world. Among those, I think the hard candies with the flavor of umeboshi plums and the flavor of Matcha green tea are especially popular overseas.
Other than the 2 flavors, there are a number of unique Japanese candies that you might not have heard of. If I give examples, “Shoyu Ame (醤油飴)” is a good old candy with the umami of soy sauce, and “Kuro Ame (黒飴)” is a long-time favorite of Japanese featuring the sweetness from Okinawan brown sugar.
Additionally, if I give one more representative example of such Japanese hard candy, Hakka Ame is one that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Hakka Ame (ハッカ飴)
Hakka Ame is the classic Japanese peppermint candy that has long been loved by us Japanese. It is a simple hard candy made from Japanese peppermint called Hakka or Nihon Hakka, sugar, and starch syrup.
Hakka Ame is different in taste and flavor from Western peppermint candies. The Japanese peppermint candy has a refreshing taste characteristic of Hakka and its moderate sweetness accentuates the distinctive minty taste.
Hakka Ame is not cough drops, just a piece of candy, but I think you will feel like the hard candy soothes your throat while sucking on it. Because of the mint taste, you will either like it or hate it after your first try.
In Japan, many variations of Hakka Ame, from colored to clear transparent ones, are available in supermarkets, and the taste fairly differs depending on the ingredients and the manufacturer.