Daily Illuminator

February 3, 2011: Hong Kong Candy!

Fish 'n' candy Phil has a tradition of bringing back treats from Hong Kong. This time there were four options.

The black sesame dragon beard candy looked like a lint ball, but dissolved in your mouth like cotton candy. The flavor? More like a sesame seed cracker. This package only had two pieces, so we weren't able to inflict . . . er, get many people to try it.

"Hokai Garlic Chili Sausage" is fish-based, with a texture more like a cheap hot dog instead of actual sausage. The package suggests heating for four minutes as a "sterilization method." Alex Fernandez ate it raw; we'll see how long he lasts. I'm thinking it'll be good on a cracker, but suspect the heating process with magnify the fishy smell. I plan on experimenting with this one.

Sour squid tentacles are exactly what they say they are -- squid bits that have been subjected to a vinegar solution. I'd call the result equal parts "pickled" and "sour," but Angie and I liked them. Gabby kept making this gagging face, so I don't think he likes seafood . . . or maybe it was the "tentacle" part . . . or perhaps it was the pungent odor that filled the office.

The big bag of assorted candy offered the biggest challenge. Some pieces were easily identifiable, like "orange." Others, like the one labeled with nothing more than the Australian flag, were only for the brave. (In that case, "the brave" was rewarded with "a sweet soup, with a funk." He spit it out.) One looked like green taffy with dried peas inside -- no one could keep it in their mouth long enough to describe the flavor.

Of course, Phil brought home much more than candy. His Flickr feed has some great shots of what he saw, and I'll try to get him to write up a "what I did in Hong Kong" Illuminator before he leaves for New York Toy Fair next week.

-- Paul Chapman

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