Caramel Corn.

As far as I’m concerned, a birthday isn’t over till you’ve had your last present. With that in mind, this year my birthday didn’t last one day but 6 whole weeks. Not bad, I’d say. Not bad at all.

Better still was the final present itself: a plastic bag full of sweet and edible goodies bought back from the streets of Hong Kong. My cousin had been there on a business trip, and managed to gather numerous crazy-coloured packets of unknown delights for my general pleasure and enjoyment. The bag of Mini Oreos was the only one I’d ever tried before. The rest would involve an adventure of sorts – but one that I was more than prepared to embark on.

Now, tempting as it is to preserve these treats in their lurid packets – display them on my bookshelves for a talking point, maybe, or frame them on the wall like foreign artefacts – the thought of tasting something new will always been a greater draw. So yesterday I shut my eyes, rummaged around, and took down the first thing that my fingers encountered: Caramel Corn, made not in HK but Japan.

Despite being my favourite in terms of packaging – with its plethora of cutesy, bright and deliriously happy characters – I can’t say the name inspired me. Nor did the morsels of corn themselves: they looked quite a lot like dried worms, or miniature cheesy Wotsits.

But the taste, dear Ogglers: what a surprise! Not dry at all, but light, crunchy, sweet and surprisingly juicy – saturated with caramel oils, no doubt (and other naughty ingredients that it’s probably best to know nothing about). The downside is there’s not much in a packet – and there’s quite a long way to travel to get some more…

A good enough reason to visit Japan?

Gosh darn it, folks! There’s never been a better one!

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