Bontan Ame: Classic Japanese Citrus Pomelo Candy
There are quite a few varieties of square-shaped soft candies in Japan that are similar in appearance to caramel cubes. For example, “Kombu Ame (こんぶ飴)”, which I introduced before, is one of that kind made from edible kelp.
Kombu Ame is a classic Japanese seaweed candy that has long been loved in Japan and is available in many supermarkets around the country. By the way, in its name, “Ame (飴, or アメ)” is a Japanese word for candy, and “Kombu (こんぶ)” refers to edible kelp.
Bontan Ame (ボンタン飴)
In addition to Kombu Ame, in Japan, there is one more famous soft candy similar in shape to caramel cubes, and it is a classic Japanese citrus candy called “Bontan Ame (ボンタン飴)”.
What is Bontan?
“Bontan (ボンタン)”, also called “Buntan (ブンタン)”, is a citrus fruit with coarse pulp, which originates from southeastern Asia and is referred to as pomelo in English.
As shown above, the Asian citrus fruit, pomelo resembles grapefruit. In Japan, Kagoshima Prefecture, situated in the southern part of the Kyushu island, is famous as a production area of Bontan or pomelo.
As for history, Bontan Ame was first created by a food company in the city of Kagoshima, Seika Foods, with the Kagoshima’s specialty pomelo, and was introduced into the market in 1924.
Even now, holding the old-fashioned, classical package design that is familiar to many of us Japanese, the pomelo candy Bontan Ame is widely loved by both adults and children.
Now, let’s see the contents. When you pull it out from the box, you see orange-colored candy blocks neatly arranged in it.
Take a close look at it, and you find the citrus pomelo candy Bontan Ame wrapped in a clear wafer sheet that is soluble in the mouth.
As you can see in the photo above, some candy cubes are topped with white particles, which actually is starch that is harmless.
Once you pop the candy into the mouth, its outer wafer sheet, which is tasteless, first melts on the tongue. And if you bite and chew it, the delicious taste and nice fragrance of the citrus spread in the mouth.
In addition to being gently sweet, the soft chewy candy has a subtle but good flavor of pomelo, which reminds many of us Japanese of our childhood memories.
Ingredients and Calories
Lastly, according to the ingredients and nutrition facts labels on the back of the package, with 239 kcal per one bag (14 pcs), the Japanese pomelo candy Bontan Ame consists of starch syrup, sugar, maltose, glutinous rice, wafer sheet, pomelo juice, concentrated satsuma mandarin juice, starch, flavoring, annatto pigment, and soy emulsifier.