Unique sugar candy’s iron flavouring tastes like blood.

Kompeito are traditional Japanese hard candies based on the Portuguese confeito. They come in a bunch of colours and flavours, but as the sole ingredient is sugar, they’re usually a sweet treat… most of the time.

That is, until our Japanese reporter Masanuki Sunakoma recently came across a unique flavour of kompeito — iron.

Candy that tastes like iron isn’t exactly the most appealing sounding treat in the world, but we here at SoraNews24 have put ourselves through many a questionable endeavour for your entertainment, so Masanuki made his way to Kitakyushu, the city in southern Japan home of the flashiest Coming of Age Ceremony outfits in all of Japan.

While Kitakyushu has a reputation for its wild outfits, Masanuki wasn’t there for sampling the local fashions (after all, he’s been there, done that). He was there to try some iron flavoured candy, so he made his way to the Chigusa Hotel, where they were on sale.

Iron flavoured candy may seem like a strange choice for a hotel to be selling, but there’s actually a reason behind it, as Kitakyushu is also famous for the Yahata Steel Works steel mill.

Yahata Steel Works was established back in 1896, and at one point was responsible for up to 90 percent of Japan’s steel output. It’s known for its contribution to Japan’s modernisation and rapid economic growth, and the steel mill was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 2015. Chigusa Hotel decided to create the iron flavoured kompeito as a way to celebrate the World Heritage announcement.

▼ The candy is called Teppeito, using an old fashioned kanji 鐡 for iron (tetsu).

▼ Each box contains 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of kompeito and costs 432 yen (US$3.50).

If he was being honest, Masanuki wasn’t really excited about the idea of eating iron flavoured candy, so it was with grim resignation that he popped some kompeito in his mouth.

Yep… this definitely tasted like iron. As he bit down into the candy, it was like he was biting down into the steel mill itself.

It was almost like he was overwhelmed by the spirit of the steel mill employees, working hard to modernise Japan.

▼ The spirit of the locals went rushing through him with every bite.

The taste wasn’t exactly bad, but the iron taste made Masanuki feel like he was tasting his own blood, as if his gums had started bleeding or something.

Certainly, these candies had an unusual taste that needed to be shared, so Masanuki brought them back to the office for his co-workers to share. Maybe there was someone amongst the group who had a thing for “bleeding gums” flavoured food…

▼ “Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope.”

Everyone’s response was pretty much the same — these candies tasted like blood. According to our unlucky taste testers, the taste of iron/blood was so strong that you could barely feel the sugary taste at all, with the exception of Seiji Nakazawa, who bizarrely said he could sense the faint sourness of ume plum.

“It tastes like the sort of sweet my grandma might give to me,” he commented. ”Actually, if this was served at my grandma’s house, I’d probably eat it, no problem.”

▼ Seiji Nakazawa, a.k.a Iron (Candy) Man

So if you’re looking for a unique souvenir and you find yourself in the Kitakyushu neck of the woods, give Teppeito iron flavoured candy a try. Aside from Chigusa Hotel, Teppeito is also on sale at a number of other locations, like the Izutsuya Kokura department store and the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History.

We can’t promise you’ll find them tasty, though.

Related: Chigusa Hotel
Images © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]