Bontan Ame : Classic Japanese Citrus Pomelo Candy
There are several kinds of square shaped soft candies in Japan that are similar in appearance to caramel cubes.
For example, “Kombu Ame (こんぶ飴)”, about which I wrote before, is one of that kind which is made from edible kelp.
It is a classic Japanese seaweed candy widely enjoyed in Japan and available in many supermarkets.
By the way, “Ame (飴, or アメ)” is the Japanese word for candies 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, which is a classic Japanese citrus candy called “Bontan Ame (ボンタン飴)”.
What is Bontan (ボンタン)?
“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 resembles grapefruit. In Japan, Kagoshima Prefecture, situated in the southern part of the country, is famous as a producing area of Bontan or pomelo.
Features of Bontan Ame Candy
Bontan Ame was first created by a food company in the city of Kagoshima, Seika Foods, with the Kagoshima’s specialty pomelo and introduced into Japan’s market in 1924.
Even now, the product features an old-fashioned, classical package design familiar to many Japanese and is loved by both adults and children.
When you pull out the inside from the package, you see orange-colored candy blocks neatly arranged in it.
The Japanese citrus pomelo candy, Bontan Ame is wrapped in a clear wafer sheet that is soluble in the mouth.
As you can see in the photo above, some Bontan Ame have white particles on the surface, which is starch that is harmless.
Once you put an orange block of Bontan Ame in the mouth, the outer wafer sheet melts on the tongue, when the candy is tasteless.
But once you bite and chew it, the flavor and fragrance of the citrus spreads in the mouth.
In addition to being gently sweet, the soft chewy candy has a subtle flavor of pomelo, which makes many Japanese feel nostalgic and reminds us of the good old days.
Finally according to the ingredient list, the Bontan Ame candy mainly consists of starch syrup, maltose, glutinous rice, wafer paper, pomelo juice, concentrated satsuma mandarin juice, and starch.