Bontan Ame : Classic Japanese citrus candy with slight pomelo flavor

In Japan, there are several kinds of soft candies with a square shape like caramel cubes. For example, “Kombu Ame (こんぶ飴)”, about which I wrote before, is one of that kind that is made from edible kelp. It is a classic Japanese seaweed candy widely enjoyed in Japan and available at supermarkets.

Bontan Ame (ボンタン飴)

In addition to Kombu Ame, there is one more soft candy similar in shape to caramel cubes that represents Japan. It is a classic Japanese citrus candy called “Bontan Ame (ボンタン飴)”. 

As you can guess from the above, “Ame (飴, or アメ)” is actually the Japanese term for candies, “Kombu (こんぶ)” refers to edible kelp, then what does the Japanese word, “Bontan (ボンタン)” mean?

What is Bontan (ボンタン)?

Bontan, also called Buntan, is a citrus fruit with coarse pulp originating from southeastern Asia. It resembles grapefruit and is referred to as pomelo in English.

In Japan, Kagoshima Prefecture, located in the southern part of the nation, is famous as a producing area of Bontan.

The Features of Bontan Ame Candy

Actually, a food company in the city of Kagoshima, Seika Foods created Bontan Ame ( with Kagoshima’s specialty pomelo and first introduced it into the Japan’s market in 1924. Even now, the product has a classical package design familiar to many Japanese.

When you pull the inside out from the package, you see orange-colored square candies neatly arranged in it.

The orange citrus candy cube, Bontan Ame is wrapped in a clear wafer sheet soluble in the mouth.

Like this, some Bontan Ame have white powder on the surface, which is starch that is harmless.

When you put a cube of Bontan Ame in the mouth, firstly, you feel the texture of the outer wafer sheet on the tongue. For a while after that, the candy is tasteless, but once you chew it, the flavor and aroma of the pomelo candy itself spread in the mouth. 

The soft chewy candy features gentle sweetness and a subtle pomelo flavor, which makes us feel nostalgic and reminds us of good old days.

The Ingredients 

According to the description on the back of the package, the ingredient of Bontan Ame candies includes starch syrup, maltose, glutinous rice, wafer paper, pomelo juice, concentrated satsuma mandarin juice, and starch.

Bontan Ame : A classic Japanese citrus candy

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia ボンタンアメ )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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