5 Classic Ame Hard Candies Widely Enjoyed in Japan
“Ame (飴)” is a Japanese word for hard candies which is often used as a suffix, and in fact, many hard candy products available in Japan include the word Ame in the name.
Especially, the suffix is typically used in the name of classic Japanese hard candies that we are familiar with.
5 Classic Japanese Ame Candies
Such good and old Japanese Ame candies are not only available at almost any supermarket around the country, but in recent years, I sometimes see those being sold on online shopping sites outside of Japan.
For those who want to try Ame hard candies that have long been loved in Japan someday, here I will introduce 5 must-try classic Japanese Ame candies.
1. Shio Ame (塩飴)
Shio Ame is a classic Japanese Ame candy that tends to be preferred during the hot summer months. This is because the hard candy contains salt as a main ingredient, as the word “Shio (塩)” means salt in Japanese.
In fact, many Japanese like sucking on the salt candy in the summer for replenishing salts lost by sweating. Shio Ame contains some salt, but is not that salty. It is more of a sweet candy that makes the most of umami of salt.
2. Kuro Ame (黒飴)
Kuro Ame is a classic Japanese Ame hard candy with a blackish color as the word “Kuro (黒)” means black in Japanese. Actually, its black color comes mainly from the main ingredient, brown sugar.
Kuro Ame is characterized by the gentle, refined sweetness from brown sugar, which makes many of us Japanese feel nostalgic.
3. Shoyu Ame (醤油飴)
“Shoyu (醤油)” is the Japanese word for soy sauce, so Shoyu Ame is made with soy sauce. Though you might imagine that the Japanese hard candy is salty rather than sweet, Shoyu Ame is not salty at all.
Instead, in addition to having a gentle sweetness, the Japanese candy features a distinctive umami flavor from soy sauce, which makes the candy a delight.
4. Nikki Ame (ニッキ飴)
We Japanese sometimes call cinnamon “Nikki (ニッキ)”, which, more precisely, refers to the cinnamon that is produced in Japan. As you can guess from this, Nikki Ame is the classic Japanese hard candy with a cinnamon flavor.
The Japanese cinnamon candy has a moderate sweetness and features a slight sharp flavor of Nikki that doesn’t cause any heat sensation.
5. Hakka Ame (ハッカ飴)
Image : Wikipedia
Hakka is represented as “薄荷” by the Chinese character used in Japanese writing, which refers to Japanese peppermint. Therefore, Hakka Ame is different in taste from Western peppermint candies.
When you suck on this Japanese peppermint candy, you get a cool sensation, and the gentle sweetness of the candy accentuates the refreshing taste.