Some girls are obsessed with chocolate, I am obsessed with gummy candy. Give me a gummy bear over a truffle any day of the week. And Hi-Chew is the best gummy candy. Hi-Chew is gummy candy in its most perfect state of being. Great flavor. Great texture. Great taste. I don’t know what they’re made of, in fact, I don’t want to know what they’re made of. As my friend Kate once put it “Those are just one molecule away from being plastic.” I’ll rail against the evils of corn syrup at the drop of a hat but I can’t bring myself to stop eating Hi-Chew. Hi-Chew tastes like heaven. Look, even the website says so:
The first time I went to Japan was in 1997. (Maybe it was 1998 or 1999 but I’m pretty sure it was 1997. Why can’t I remember? Bah!!) It was not only my first international trip, (and the first of several hideous passport photos) it was my first international business trip. At the time we were allowed to fly business class if the flight was more than 8 consecutive hours. However, if you gave up your business class seat, the company would pay for another person to go with you. It was a win win win. You got to bring someone, and the company still saved money. So My X and I went to Japan for a week. I was there for three nights of market research testing and didn’t really have to go in to our Tokyo office. So we had lots of free time during the day to check out Tokyo and then I had to work for a few hours at night. We even went to Tokyo Disneyland and at the time they still sold E-Tickets for the rides. How cool is that? I have never since had as much free time on an international trip, and to this day I wonder why they sent me, at twenty-one/two-ish, alone, on a market research trip to Japan.
It was on this trip that I discovered Hi-Chew Candy, quite possibly the most delicious guilty pleasure gummy candy on the planet and absolutely-positively-hands-down – if-I-was-stuck-on-a-desert-island-with-only-one-pack-of-candy – my most favorite candy of all time. Sidebar: one of my very favorite things to do in new places is to buy up local candy. You never know what you might find. One time I was in Miami and discovered that the city was a test bed for dulce de leche M&M’s. SO. SO. GOOD. Like, the best M&Ms ever. They didn’t make it into wide distribution and I ended up having to buy a case on eBay that I thoroughly enjoyed eating at god knows how many calories….but I digress. The point is: Hi-Chew.
While we were in Tokyo I bought packs and packs of Hi-Chew and ate them up like a crazed mad woman. I never thought I’d see them again and it wasn’t until we moved to the Bay Area that I found them at an Asian market by my gym in San Mateo. I would go to the gym, then go buy a pack or two of Hi-Chew to eat on the way home. Yes, I know this kind of defeats the purpose of the gym.
When I was at Control4 the business development team became aware of my Hi-Chew worship and would bring back bags of them from their various Asian adventures. I got to try funky local and seasonal flavors like plum and cola and tangerine. I would show up at work and there would be a bag of Hi-Chew on my chair. Oh! Those were happy days!! I tried to make the candy last until after lunch. Lord, how I tried.
In the U.S. it’s becoming easier to find Hi-Chew. You can get the basic flavors: Grape (LURVE!), Apple (SO.GOOD.), Orange, Melon (I Die!!), Banana and Strawberry at most Asian markets and apparently at Costco and 7-11 in some parts of the country. If you can find Japanese Hi-Chew vs. localized English Hi-Chew, snap those up. I’m telling you, for whatever reason, the Japanese Hi-Chew in the foil wrapper is better.
Right now my heart aches for Japan and I guess I wanted it down for the record that among my greatest food discoveries, among the things that I love most of all in life, I LOVE HI-CHEW CANDY. And while it is a small thing, I am really, very grateful. Hi-Chew candy makes me happy. The taste brings back memories of good times and of people that I have loved and do love and will always love. Every time I see a pack my heart smiles. Thank You Japan. I can never get enough.