Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 12.28.57 PM

Tabasco, with its spicy and tangy flavors, is a popular condiment to put on pizza or pasta in Japan. The writers in our Japanese office love the hot sauce brand so much that they jumped at the chance to taste them in bean form…jelly bean form. That’s right, the Jelly Belly Factory has created Tabasco flavored jelly beans and they’re available in Japan!

But unfortunately, the flavor of Tabasco jelly beans can be summed up in one word: disgusting. At least that’s what our reporter told us after biting into one. He claimed that the flavor was just too close to the original, making for a terrible candy…which got us thinking. If Tabasco Jelly Beans taste too much like the real thing, maybe they’d taste delicious if used as a condiment…on pizza. And so our taste test experiment began.


First off, I think we need to establish just how terrible the Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans taste to a Japanese palate. The candies were introduced to the US in 2012 and made their way to Japan a year later in 2013. Surprisingly, the sweet/spicy/sour combo has five-star reviews on and in the US, with one online reviewer stating, “I think they’re really good, they taste exactly like Tabasco sauce.” However, Japanese netizens weren’t as taken by the flavor for the exact same reason:

“It’s just unnecessarily spicy!”

“Spicy, sour…and also sweet?”

“It’s chaos in my mouth!”

“First of all, it tastes horrible.”

“I can only see someone eating these as a punishment for losing a bet.”

Yikes, seems like Japan can stomach the sauce, but not the sauce-flavored candy. But this got us thinking, if Japan loves Tabasco sauce, but doesn’t like Tabasco jelly beans because they taste just like Tabasco, maybe we’re just eating them wrong. Maybe, if we just used the jelly beans as a condiment instead of as a candy, Tabasco Jelly Bellys will have a place in Japan.

That’s when our reporter, who couldn’t even bring himself to eat a second bean after his initial taste, got the ingenious idea of putting Tabasco jelly beans on pizza because, hey, if it works with the sauce, it’s bound to work with the beans, right?

We grabbed a bag of beans…


And sprinkled a few onto a slice of pizza…


Briefly remembering the terrible taste that filled his mouth during his first encounter with Tabasco jelly beans, but still feeling confident that this combination would work, our reporter took his first bite. To his dismay, the more he chewed, the more he could taste the sweetness of the candy. If you can believe it, it tasted even worse than eating the jelly beans on its own and he laid down the pizza slice in defeat, unable to take a second bite. Our reporter was distraught and disappointed that he couldn’t salvage what he thought was a great idea. And we have to give him credit, he really did try his hardest to find the good qualities of Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans, but in the end, he had to agree with the commenter who said they were only good to eat as a punishment. So all you good girls and boys out there, heed our warning, stay far away from Tabasco jelly beans. They don’t taste good. Not even on pizza.


All photos (c) RocketNews24 / Khoa Dinh
[ Read in Japanese ]