5 Classic Ame Hard Candies Widely Enjoyed by Japanese
“Ame (飴)” is a Japanese word for hard candies in general, which is often used as a suffix. In fact, many hard candy products being sold at grocery stores in Japan include the word Ame in the name. Especially, the suffix is used in the name of classic Japanese hard candies with which we are familiar.
5 Classic Japanese Ame Candies
Such good old Japanese Ame candies are not only available at almost any supermarket in Japan, but in recent years, I also sometimes see those being sold on online shopping sites outside of Japan.
For those who want to try eating classic Japanese Ame hard candies, today I will introduce 5 Ame candies that have been widely enjoyed by Japanese for a long time.
1. Shio Ame (塩飴)
Shio Ame is a classic Japanese Ame candy that tends to be preferred in the summer season. This is because the hard candy contains salt as a main ingredient. Actually, the word, “Shio (塩)” means salt and many Japanese suck on the salt candy in the summer for replenishing salts lost by sweating. Shio Ame contains salt but is not salty. It has a moderate sweetness and makes the most of umami of salt.
2. Kuro Ame (黒飴)
Image : Kasugai.co.jp
Kuro Ame is a classic Japanese Ame hard candy with a blackish color as the word “Kuro (黒)” means black in Japanese. Actually, the black color of the hard candy mainly comes from its main ingredient, brown sugar. Kuro Ame features having a rich natural sweetness, and the gentle taste of its brown sugar makes us Japanese feel nostalgic.
3. Shoyu Ame (醤油飴)
“Shoyu (醤油)” is the Japanese word for soy sauce, the quintessential Japanese seasoning widely used in the world, so Shoyu Ame is made with soy sauce. You might imagine that the hard candy is salty rather than sweet, but Shoyu Ame is not salty at all. Instead, the Japanese candy contains the umami flavor of soy sauce. Additionally, this Ame has such a gentle sweetness that it is really delicious.
4. Nikki Ame (ニッキ飴)
We Japanese sometimes call cinnamon “Nikki (ニッキ)”. More precisely, the word, Nikki refers to the cinnamon made in Japan. As you can guess, Nikki Ame is the classic Japanese hard candy with a cinnamon flavor. This Ame candy has a slight sharp flavor of Nikki in addition to a right amount of sugar. However, it doesn’t give the tongue 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 Ame candy, you get a cool sensation, and its gentle sweetness accentuates the refreshing flavor.