Trying to find a long-lost Asian candy from childhood!!
My partner grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. Since I met him 10 years ago, he has spoken of a candy from his childhood that he desperately longs to find. We cannot pass by an Asian grocery store without going in to search for this candy. We've looked in stores in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal Chinatowns. We've searched online using his vague childhood memories as keywords. We've NEVER found it! So, I thought it would be worthwhile putting the description out there to the Chowhound collective to see if it rings a bell to anyone. It would truly be a wonderful surprise for him if I could track down this candy!
So the details are vague, but I will post everything I know about this candy:
He used to buy this candy after school at a 7-11 in the mid/late 1980s in Taipei, Taiwan
The candies themselves are circular in shape, flat, and may have a spiral shape or design on the top. At the time they came in a box through which you could see the flat, round candies (whenever we look for this candy, he is not looking for a specific picture on a box, but the candy itself, because it was identifiable through the box). He does not remember what colour they are.
The candies are similar in texture to a candy we call "Rockets" in Canada, which I believe are called "Smarties" in America: pressed dry candy tablets, with a crumbling/powdery texture.
Sweet, tart, and fruity
Other identifying information:
He cannot remember what the wording/characters were on the box, so although he bought this candy in Taipei, he is not sure if it was made in Taiwan, China, Korea, or Japan (candies from all of these places were available in convenience stores where he grew up). He vaguely recalls that there were characters that *may* have formed the words "God Fruit" on the box. However, since he was just a child he is not sure if he was reading the characters right, or if there were other ways to read the characters (personally I think he may be mistaken about this since we've done many searches for "God Fruit Candy" and never found anything). He thinks the candies may have been made from plums, or a plum-like fruit, as plum candy is extremely popular in Taiwan. However, he is not 100% certain that this is what it was made from.
Does this candy sound familiar to anyone at all??? If not, does anyone know a good candy website that has a forum in which I could ask about this candy? Thanking folks in advance for any info at all!
So some recent activity on this long-dead thread reminded me that I needed to post a MAJOR UPDATE in The Case of the Asian Candy Mystery. I am thrilled to report that at long last, this mystery has been SOLVED!!!
How did we solve it?? We just gave up trying to find it anywhere outside of Taiwan...and went to Taiwan ourselves!! Yes, THAT was just how important this candy was (oh and also visiting family and reliving memories etc. etc. but let's face it, the candy was a big part of it all too!!)
So I will post here the results of our epic, nearly 12 year (!!!!) struggle to find this candy, in the hopes that it brings back memories for some people struggling to find it too. A few details:
- Found in an old-fashioned candy shop located about a 6 min stroll from the entrance to Shenkeng "old street" (深坑老街) (yes this is the street famous for stinky tofu!) When I say "old fashioned", I mean it was like a novelty store for finding old-timey candy; like it was kind of a charming touristy thing for finding nostalgic old candies from childhood (my partner went around the whole store exclaiming over many products: "OMG I didn't think they made this anymore!")
- The candy pieces are a little larger than a Canadian quarter, and only slightly thicker. Turns out they do not have a spiral on the top, but rather concentric circles (like circles nested inside of each other, raised up on the top of the candy). The bottom of the candy tablet is smooth.
- They are VERY sweet, very chalky, moderately brittle. The form we bought them in was little stacks of 6 in clear plastic wrap (shown in the pic). This was the only way the shop sold them but my partner remembers being able to buy them in larger packages, so that may still be possible - we just didn't see it at this shop.
- The flavour is only vaguely fruity-tasting, but definitely is reminiscent of (though distinct from) the multitude of other plum-flavoured candies that we have tried over the years in an attempt to find a substitute. The texture is absolutely unique though, nothing comes close to the chalky/brittle feel, so I understand now why my partner was so insistent that this candy was "one of a kind".
There you have it!!! A huge "THANK YOU" to all the folks who posted on this thread trying to help out, and many apologies for the posts I somehow missed. I hope this update is helpful to others in solving a mystery and bringing back happy memories :)
(I've also posted this in the other thread)
Something tells me this is what you may be looking for:
i.e. Pikin Plum candies
They're very common in Singapore (and Malaysia I would think).
EDIT: the candies originated in Taiwan, so it's quite likely it is this.
The generic term seems to be 金梅片 (my rudimentary translation: golden plum slices
)So, there are many brands that sell this type of candy.
I've definitely eaten these in the last year or two, specifically in the plum flavour. About the size of a quarter, right? They come in other flavours as well, and I think I bought them at a touristy shop selling stuff made from local ingredients.
I'll keep an eye out for them to pay attention to what they are called and report back. It's impossible to be more than about 100 m from a 7-11, so I'll look there when I go by.
YES!! Plum flavour, that's right!!. He's not sure if it says anything about plums on the actual package, just that "it tastes like plum" - more specifically, like dried plum powder. There is this type of plum powder that is popular (or was popular when he was a kid) for dipping fruit in - kind of sweet, kind of sour. He says the candy is like that powder pressed into a disk. Now the size he is not entirely sure of, because he was a small kid at the time, so he is not sure if it is the size of a quarter. It might be a bit bigger. He says it was thicker than a quarter, though again as a small child he did not have any quarters to compare it to, and his hands were small then, so the size memory might be off. If you happen to see something like this in a 7-11, it would be wonderful if you could catch the name!! We really don't have much to go by, and I am afraid my google searches in English (i.e. "god fruit", "pressed plum powder candy", etc.) have turned up nothing close. Thanks for your reply, it gives some hope!!
I got very excited when I googled "Haw Flakes" because it definitely looked like what he described...but when I showed him the pictures, sadly that was not it :( Apparently his relatives would often mistake Haw Flakes for the candy he loves and would send them to him, but they are not the candy he is thinking of. Apparently the mystery candy is more powdery/chalky, and thicker. He says "it is similar to chinese plum powder, pressed into a disk". If you know this plum powder he's referring to, it's like a sweet/sour powder you can put on fruit as a snack. He says it tastes similar to this powder. Thank you so much for your reply though, I really appreciate it!!