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What's your favorite oddball candy?

A co-worker brought in a bunch of leftover pinata candy, and as I was reaching in, she said, "You're the only one who likes the chili kind!" I love all the Mexican candies with either tamarind or chili or both. I also love Mexican fudge. What are your favorite off-the-beaten path sweets?

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  1. Do tell, what is Mexican fudge? Hurry, I'm salivating!

    1. It's just made from milk and sugar -- it's called leche quemada. It's kind of like penuche, but made with white sugar instead of brown. It's available in many Mexican markets in the small cases that hold fresh pralines, coconut fudge-type stuff, etc.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chowpatty

        Mmmmm...I will check it out. Do you think Vallarte Mexican Market will have it?

        1. re: liu

          I'm not familiar with Vallarte, but I think in general the smaller mom 'n pop places are more likely to have the fresh candy case up front. In L.A., it's also available at Grand Central Market and Olvera Street.

          1. re: Chowpatty

            Grand Central Market -- that works! Thanks!!

      2. Durian candy. Sort of like salt-water taffy, but durian-flavored. Also, ting-ting jahe, the sticky ginger candy from southeast Asia. And, though it's not quite candy, Choward's Scents gum.

        1. I love the lavender gum, it reminds me of my mom! That must be where I got my wierd candy genes, she was always buying odd stuff like that gum (and the mints, too).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chowpatty

            Hi Chowpatty,

            Any idea where one would get that purple gum ? Did it look like purple chicklets ?

            1. re: MMRuth

              I love the double salted licorice. I have friends who bring back quite a variety of salted licorices from the Netherlands.Yum!

            2. Hi.. At 99 Ranch (asian markets in L.A.), they sell packages of fragrant muscat grape flavored gels (essentially, large gummies). They actually exude the aroma and flavor of wine grapes, and though chewy, are more tender than traditional gummies. To be found in the same aisle as the Pocky selection.

              1 Reply
              1. re: silence9

                Yes! The green muscat jelly candies are so good! I am also a big fan of the lychee flavored jellies.

              2. Marshmallow Peeps



                Claeys Candy (Watermelon and Root Beer flavors in particular)

                Razzles (tropical flavor)

                1. Depending on what you consider oddball:

                  Chinese dried salted plums

                  Mexican chili-coated gummi bears (I'm literally salivating thinking about them - hope that's not TMI)

                  Pearson's salted nut rolls

                  chocolate covered potato chips

                  really anything that satisfies that salty/sweet craving

                    1. Muscovado sugar by the spoonful.

                      I don't think anything is really oddball unless it's a strange combo you make at home.

                      1. I have to agree with rilkeanheart...I love the green muscat and lychee gummies...get them at the corner Korean grocery...

                        1. At 99 Ranch and Chinese grocery stores, they have this candy that looks like pennies. I'm really not sure what it is, but the candies are stacked into little rolls--exactly like mini rolls of coins. They're a bit thinner than pennies, but pretty much the dark brown, copper color. They're sweet, but not overly so and certainly not sugary. There's a SLIGHT saltiness to them. Again, I'm not sure exactly what these types of candy are called. I've been searching for them at 99 Ranch, but at the branch I shop, I am never able to find them.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Pamela

                            Those are called HAW-FLAKES!! A cheap asian friend of mine tried selling them off individually during grade school days....

                            Hi-Chew are the best candy around!!!

                            1. re: otonitoni

                              Haw flakes (or disks) are great, but are they really "candy"?

                              Anyhow, haw flakes/disks go great with fresh brewed cold sour plum juice ...

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Interesting point. They are not as sweet/sugary as typical (American) candy, that's for sure. But they're still sweet. I personally would characterize them as candy because: 1) they're located in the candy aisle of the Chinese grocery stores; and 2) they have no nutritional value whatsoever.

                                Thanks to Otonitoni for the candy name. Went through life without knowing the name. Just called them "pennies" all this time.

                                1. re: Pamela

                                  Here's a pic of haw flakes.


                                  This also got me thinking that I really like the White Rabbit candies (with the edible rice paper wrapping) ... ya gotta love white caramel!

                                  1. re: Pamela

                                    I used to love Haw Flakes as a kid - my Grandpa would take me into Chinatown in SF and buy packages of them and stoke my then rampaging sweet tooth. As noted, no nutritional value whatsoever.

                                    Don't know if this is oddball, but I love the Filipino pastilla candies. Not much in the way of nutritional value either(condensed milk and sugar) - flavor variations include langka, ube, mango, and mocha.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    Blech.... Haw flakes bring back memories of bitter chinese herbal brews (which the Haw flakes are supposed to counteract.... supposed to being the keyword) :P

                                    1. re: AquaW

                                      Ipsedixit, that's exactly it. I remember the pink wrapper, although I'm surprised I don't remember the name at all.

                                      Laughed at the ingredients: "Haw and sugar." No one in their right mind will know what "haw" is.

                                      They describe the taste precisely: Like a hardened version of fruit roll-up, which, incidently, is another product with zero nutritional value.

                                      1. re: Pamela

                                        I think haw is the fruit of a hawthorn tree but I'm not sure. Can anyone confirm this?

                                  3. re: otonitoni

                                    2nd the Hi-Chew appreciation! Better than Starburst, with great flavor choices.

                                    1. re: otonitoni

                                      Looooooooove caramel Hi-Chew! It almost has a coconut flavor to it. I'm still on the fence about Bontan-ame...the rice paper gets gelatinous and the texture is kind of squicky to me. I like the candy, though. I also once had a Japanese candy that was like a malted milk ball in structure, but it tasted like a caramel latte. Melon Pocky was surprisingly good, and I'm a huge fan of black sugar hard candy.

                                  4. Dude!

                                    Totally MALLOCUPS!

                                    They are incredibly hard to find, especially North of the Mason-Dixon line, and are incredibly wonderful. I remember, as a kid, I would score a few prize Mallocups in each haul of Halloween booty and ate those veryveryveryvery last. Gems, they are. Squishy, mallowy, coconutty gems.

                                    1. Tamarind balls. The best I have ever had were fresh in Grenada. Fresh tamarind, salt, sugan and baking soda. I have tried to replicate them, but without luck.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: catzen

                                        I love a good tamarind ball! The best I have had, like the Mexican fudge, I wrote about above, were from a Mexican stand at Grand Central Market in L.A. Thai markets have tamarind candy, but Mexican is usually better. I'd love to try the Grenada variety.

                                        1. re: Chowpatty

                                          Never had a tamarind ball, but I love the tamarind candy that comes on a plastic spoon. Wish they sold Nutella that way...much safer....

                                      2. MMMMMMMMMMM mallowcups! I haven't had one for a while, but they are incredible!

                                        My other hard to find favorite is Chuckles candy. Can't find it in stores in So, California, but have to order it online. ARGH!

                                        We were just in Indiananpolis, and bought out the Chuckles supply at the closest 7-11. Couldn't find it again!

                                        1. I still dream of Willy Wonka Wacky Wafers. I've searched and searched, but they don't make them anymore. I'm a sucker for any of that kind of kiddie candy. A couple of years ago, my hubby filled my stocking on Christmas with all that good stuff - Fun Dips, Chewy Sweettarts, Sixlets, Nerds, Runts. The only thing that would have made it better would have been Wacky Wafers.

                                          Another dreamy candy are cotton candy flavored Lifesavers that are part of their spring mix sold at Easter. Absolute Heaven!

                                          1. Sponge Taffy

                                            I have only seen it in Canada.

                                            1. I don't consider these oddball but my friends do.

                                              C. Howards (Chowards) Violet Candy and Scented Gum, Orange Circus Peanuts, Atomic Fire Balls, Willy Wonka Root Beer Wafers, Sixlets, Smarties, Candy Necklaces, Pez, those Pink Wintergreen mints that are semi-soft, King Leo Soft Peppermint Stick, and Pay Day candy bars.

                                              1. Y'all need to read "Candyfreak" by Steve Almond.
                                                Candy addicts everywhere will be able to identify with the author's life-long love affair with candy.
                                                I felt like I'd met a soul-mate.

                                                1. Reading through this again made me think of Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC. If you haven't been, add it to your list of stops for your next trip to the Big Apple. It really is a candy-lovers paradise. It is almost as though you have walked into the set of Willy Wonka! My most favorite thing there are the gummi bears available separately by flavor. They have these red berry ones that are INCREDIBLE! of course, everything is way overpriced in that Manhattan sort of way, but it is worth it for some of the finds there. Check it out.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: DC Gal

                                                    I would suggest Economy Candy on the LES.. now that's a real candy store!

                                                    1. re: SLO

                                                      Tell me more - I'm not a New Yorker - so you have to tell me what LES means.

                                                      1. re: DC Gal

                                                        economy candy has a website and you can order stuff, but nothing compares to a visit to the old store. they have every oddball old style candy you can remember.

                                                        yay for cin-cin!


                                                      2. re: DC Gal

                                                        Dairy Fresh Candy, in the North End neighborhood in Boston, also has some remarkable choices, especially by-the-pound bulk candies I've never seen anyplace else.

                                                      3. Anything with Li Hing Mui - dried salted plum.
                                                        Bontan-ame - old Japanese citrus gel wrapped in dissolving rice paper.
                                                        Ting ting jahe Ginger Chews - available in Asian markets in a white and blue bag with a picture of ginger on it. The Ginger People chews at Whole Foods are basically the same thing, but way more expensive.
                                                        Chili Mango - Mexican dried mango with chili pepper.
                                                        And anything sour.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: linlinchan

                                                          Bontan-ame!!! Oh, the memories! I had an uncle who was a martial artist. When he came to visit, he always had some of this candy. I thought he brought if from Asia. I didn't realize he was getting it from Chinatown in Philadelphia. Didn't matter - it was the most exotic thing I had ever eaten. Imagine, eating the paper! Still, I cannot resist it when I see it.

                                                          1. re: Divamac

                                                            Are those like Botan rice candies? They have a very mild citrus flavor, but I'm not sure I'd describe them as orange. The gelatinous candy is kind of an indescribable flavor, but it's been a looong time.

                                                          2. re: linlinchan

                                                            Ditto lin. Have you has ume pills. Not sure the name but nice and salty.

                                                          3. I love the rice candy they sell at Chinese Restaurants and grocery stores, the chewy candy that has the rice paper that melts in your mouth. I always found that part so cool as a kid.
                                                            I once had a package of cookies from Australia that should have been called candy, and they were called Dangerous Liasons. They had a cookie bottom, a layer of caramel, some ganache, and then dipped in chocolate. I swear it tasted like a Twix bar, only better...I ate an entire package in under 10 minutes.
                                                            My current favorite candy is not weird, just hard to find. Princessa wafer candy bars, I think they are Polish, and my favorite has vanilla wafers layered with coconut creme and dipped in white chocolate. Quite possibly the most perfect candy bar ever made.
                                                            Other American favorites that are hard to find: chick-o-sticks (like a butterfinger without the chocolate), coconut bar(chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavored layers of coconut) and bit o honey, even though it nearly pulls my fillings out when I eat it.
                                                            What a fun post!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: foodrocks

                                                              We used to get that rice candy at the Chinese place where we'd go to have springfield-style cashew chicken.

                                                              1. re: foodrocks

                                                                We were at Sam's club earlier and they had cases of chik-o-sticks so you might look in your neck of the woods.

                                                              2. Haribo Gold Gummi Bears, preferably the ones made in Bonn, Germany!

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: mattrapp

                                                                  O yes. Many years ago when I was in the Spanish Club in junior high, we used to get all these international candies that no one had ever seen in our part of the world. Haribo Gummi Bears (the first Gummi Bears I ever heard of and still the only ones I'm really all that interested in), Chupa Chups suckers, Toblerones, and some little sour taffy things I can't remember the name of. We'd sell them as a fund-raiser--but I don't know that we ever had to do much selling outside of the Spanish classroom.

                                                                  Do you know what a Haribo Gummi Bear does if you put it in water and leave it for a couple of days? We discovered this quite by accident; someone had thrown one out the window of the Spanish classroom, onto the auditorium roof that was right below it, and then we had a really rainy spell and the bear ended up sitting in a puddle. It swelled up to probably four times its normal size and all the color went out of it, so it was just this bear-shaped bit of jelly. Very weird. Of course I immediately went home and took a gummy bear out of the bag I had just bought, and left it in a glass of water on the kitchen counter to see if it would do the same thing. it did.

                                                                  1. re: revsharkie

                                                                    cool! i will have to test this myself.

                                                                2. Actually I think these are gross, but "Yemas Acarameladas" (candied egg yolks) are beloved in Argentina. They are spherical hard-cooked egg yolks encased in a brittle burnt-sugar caramel coating.

                                                                  1. Pastillas de leche- I could hundreds of these in one sitting- whole milk, milk powder and sugar boiled down into a paste-dough, then rolled in more sugar packaged in tiny bite sized morsels, cause it's so rich.

                                                                    Tamarindo w/ extra Lucas Lime salt

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Veggietales

                                                                      here's more info on Pastillas de leche... I want to hook more addicts!


                                                                    2. I love the candied fruits one finds in Mexican markets--especially the candied lime halves stuffed with shredded coconut. Candied yams (not our Thanksgiving kind but actually in dry, candied form) are a second favorite. And I love Colombian arequipe--a smooth, creamy milk caramel concoction that goes great with figs in heavy syrup.

                                                                      Speaking of favorite treats from childhood, does anyone remember Indian Pumpkin Seeds? They were my favorite! I yearned for them as an adult for years. Then one day, I found them on the Web! I ordered two cases--it's a miracle my blood pressure didn't rocket sky-high from all the sodium. There are several purveyors of "vintage" candies and treats on the Web, so those of you yearning for those treats from yesteryear might want to Google them.

                                                                      1. Violets. Does anyone remember these? Square purple chalky candies. My family thinks they taste and smell like soap, but I absolutely LOVE them!

                                                                        1. As I kid I liked violet candies and scented gum, but my friends thought I was really weird for liking sen sens.

                                                                          I don't understand salted licorice, which is especially popular in Scandinavia. I also don't like the salted dried mango they sell in Thailand. But I'm the kind who scrapes the salt off of pretzels.

                                                                          I love muscat & lychee gummies.

                                                                          The weirdest "candy" I ever had was caramelized black olive from China. I did not enjoy it.

                                                                          In India Halls cough drops are sold as penny candy.


                                                                          1. Double salted licorice.

                                                                            Is that 'oddball'? My friends certainly give me weird looks when I offer it.

                                                                            1. We had Japanese people that would come and visit us when I was a kid, and they would bring this weird candy. They were sort of like those peppermint lozenges, only not peppermint; they were much drier and more powdery, and not very sweet at all. I could inhale a whole package of them without really trying.

                                                                              Mike likes "Mazapan" peanut candy we get at the Mexican grocery in Storm Lake. But my very favorite, which I guess a lot of people think is "oddball," is good, old-fashioned horehound. I have a fellow in my church who nearly always gets out a bag and passes it around. For some reason no matter how many people he passes it to, he and I are the only ones who ever take a piece.

                                                                              1. some plum flavoured hard candy from japan. Its kinda sweet on the outside, but salty and gooey towards the middle...and there is a hint of shiso throughout - divine

                                                                                1. salted licorice all the way- preferably from sweden or denmark, but i'll take dutch or german if offered.

                                                                                  1. I like these chocolate filled marshmallows I buy at the Asian groceries. I believe they're a Japanese brand, and the marshmallows are individually wrapped disks, rather than the cylindrical poofs like Kraft's. The "chocolate" filling is more cocoa-ey than chocolate, but the flavor is sort of dusky and dark, and the contrast is pretty darned good. They're terribly expensive for such a small number of candies, and all that packaging, ay! I don't really think of them as oddball, but they are unusual in America, anyway.

                                                                                    1. Polvoron: a.k.a. sweetned powdered milk discs. They're a specialty of the Philippines, one I can barely resist when I see the type with toasted rice or peanuts. There's also another candy of peanut butter and coconut that I cannot recall the name, nor have I had in nearly 6 years. But they are super addictive.

                                                                                      1. I had a friend who lived in Australia for a year and sent me candy all the time so I love Polly Waffles (a tube of waffle cone filled with marshmallow then dipped in chocolate). Ohh yum, they're just wonderful. I also love Cherry Ripe. Coconutty raspberry in dark chocolate.

                                                                                        1. I just discovered Ginger People ginger-chews. Amazing! I never liked ginger, but I think age has led to a liking for it.

                                                                                          1. One I adored but is off the market was bubblegum Smarties -- the kind in a roll -- they transformed into bubblegum as you chewed them, in the most satisfyingly disconcerting way. It seems my fondness for them was not shared by very many people.

                                                                                            1. I do love those sanded hard ginger candy's
                                                                                              I want to try clove, and sassafrass, and the cinnamon kind to.