Market: Daiso
City: Union City, CA

I don’t remember when I got hooked on Hi-Chews… but I can assure you that they are waaaaay better than Starburst! It’s softer and more fun to chew on. I have a bowl of Hi-Chews in my office, and it empties out fast!

Here in the SF Bay Area, you can find bags of Hi-Chews at many Asian markets. Costco even carries it! However, the the bags won’t have peach or cherry flavors. Daiso sometimes carries Hi-Chews by the stick. The flavors available here are green apple, strawberry, grape, mango, banana, melon (cantaloupe), peach, and cherry.

Have you tried other flavors, or do you have other flavors available near you? Which is your favorite flavor?

hi-chew 1

Shown below is a close-up of the peach Hi-Chew.

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Here’s some info about the candy, from Hi-Chew:

Way back in the 1930s, an enterprising candy maker by the name of Taichiro Morinaga was trying to make a new kind of chewing gum for Japan. Back then, and even today, taking food out of your mouth was considered to be somewhat impolite. So, to make chewing gum a more culturally accepted snack he wanted to create a chewy candy, just like gum, but one that could be swallowed like any other food.

Fortunately, Mr. Morinaga had the ability to make outstanding caramel. The caramel was special in many ways, but what made it unique was its smooth, creamy and chewy texture. In a stroke of candy-making genius, Mr. Morinaga took the unique texture and combined it with a natural strawberry flavor – in 1931 Chewlets was born. Following World War II, Morinaga had to re-build the company from the ground up. In 1975, and after a lot of work, Chewlets was re-introduced as the wonderful, fruit flavored candy now called Hi-Chew.

Since then Hi-Chew has become a cultural icon in Japan. To this day more than 113 different flavors of Hi-Chew have been created. Hi-Chew first appeared outside of Japan in local Asian markets. Today, Hi-Chew enjoys a growing global popularity and can be found in convenience and grocery stores across the nation.

And here’s some more info, from Wikipedia:

Hi-Chew candies are individually wrapped in logo-stamped foil or plain white wax paper (depending on the localization). Each individual candy piece consists of an outer white coating (this is the same for most flavors) and a colored, flavored interior. The exceptions to this rule are the Strawberry Cheesecake, Yogurt, and Cotton Candy flavors, which have an outer colored coating with a white, flavored inside, whereas the Cola flavored Hi-chews are brown colored all through. The texture is similar to a cross between chewing gum and fruit-flavored candies in the United States such as Laffy Taffy or Starburst, and they remind some (including Ryan Gosling) of the long discontinued Bonkers. Hi-Chew can be found widely in shops in Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Specialist shops in other countries also stock this product, including some 7-Eleven locations in the United States,, Cost Plus World Market locations, and also many import stores. In Walt Disney World, Epcot in Florida, Hi-Chew can be also found sold in a smaller package and translated into English. Special editions are sometimes released.