Ten Weird Japanese Pumpkin Snacks, Foods & Drinks That Should Be Squashed

Halloween just got ten times more more frightening! Thank Japan, who decided to squash everyone's appetites by putting pumpkin into a host of snacks, foods and drinks where it very much does NOT belong... and totally redeems itself!

With that said, let it be stated that Japanese pumpkins (known as Kabocha) are more than a little different from the big, seedy, orange proto-jack-o-lanterns that have come to symbolize Halloween everywhere... mainly, they taste a LOT better and they make lousy jack-o-lanterns. That still doesn't excuse Japan's snack, food and drink manufacturers from plastering grinning orange pumpkins all over the wrappers of their kabocha-flavored products.



10) KANRO Candy

KANRO is a retro-style candy and as such, anyone out trick-or-treating will have no idea what they are or why they're worth reviving in the modern era. As for the candies themselves, they're little individually-wrapped spheres that are shaped like pumpkins and taste like soy sauce. Yep, soy sauce. Still longing for the good old days? Extra props for the really creepy round-eyed jack-o-lantern in the image above. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via poco a poco) 



9) Burger King's BK Pumpkin Burger

Burger King Japan knows how to tell a whopper but the BK Pumpkin had to be seen to be believed. Sold from October 26th through the end of December 2012, this mismatched meal featured two slices of pumpkin among the toppings and if that wasn't enough, one could pay extra for the Pumpkin Bomb featuring 8 additional pumpkin slices. Don't know about you but we'd gladly pay even more for NO pumpkin at all. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Everything Hapa



8) Pumpkin Cheese Cake Kit Kat

Nestlé Japan spits out new and wonderful Kit Kats (over 200 different flavors since the year 2000) almost as fast as their customers can spit them out, and that goes double for a number of pumpkin-themed flavors. The Pumpkin Cheese Cake Kit Kat pictured above would be improved by removing all signs of pumpkin and cheese. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Super Happy Awesome  



7) Lovely Halloween Pumpkin Pocky

Pocky is one of Japan's best known snacks, inside the country and internationally. Lovely Halloween Pumpkin Pocky, however, is not famous... we suppose that makes it infamous. What's it like? "It doesn't actually taste like pumpkin," according to Helen of RSGo, "yet, weirdly and wonderfully, it contains pumpkin!" That's good... and bad. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via RSGo



6) Maxim Pumpkin Latte

Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte has become a seasonal thing and it's tasty to boot. Japan's Maxim Pumpkin Latte, on the other hand, tastes like a boot. "The smell that wafts out of the cup reminds me of corn soup," relates a brave reviewer from Tasty Japan. "It's yellow like corn soup too." Calm down, Starbucks, you've got nothing to worry about. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Tasty Japan)



5) Tirol Pumpkin Tart

Tirol is a well-regarded Japanese confectionery manufacturer famed for their delicious flavors and colorful, appealing wrappers. When it comes to the Tirol Pumpkin Tart, well, it DOES have a nice wrapper. "Not bad, but very vegetable-y" states one reviewer at Ebi Debi's Snack Love site. Just what everyone wants in a candy tart... NOT! (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Ebi Debi) 



4) Crunky Pumpkin Purin

What is this I don't even... Crunchy Pumpkin Pudding? That can't be right and yet it exists, seemingly in defiance of the laws of food physics. Designed to evoke the rich autumn spice flavor of pumpkin pudding, this Halloween-themed Crunky white chocolate bar has one thing going for it: compared to its sister confection Crunky Purple Potato Tart it's the lesser of two evils. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Japanese Snack Reviews)     



3) Karl Pumpkin Soup Corn Puffs

Meiji's popular Karl brand corn puffs come in a wealth of flavors but Pumpkin Soup rates between Poor and Destitute. Imagine if Cheetos exuded the heavy, pungent, earthy redolence of forgotten vegetables left to rot in the root cellar... even half-baked you'd be hesitant to crack open a bag. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Oomori-Seitai)



2) Corn Potage Soup Doritos

Japan is the place where weird Doritos flavors go to die, and Corn Potage Soup Doritos are doomed to die quicker and more painfully than the rest. It could be worse - the chips themselves could be pumpkin-flavored or like the frightening Karl Corn Puffs above, pumpkin soup-flavored. Instead we get chips shaped like jack-o-lanterns and cats tasting like stick-to-your ribs corn chowder. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Jinja and Shoga   



1) PETZ Pumpkin Gum

PETZ Pumpkin Gum is either some weird vegetarian dog chew or the worst Halloween treat EVAR... maybe both, if you get costumeless teenagers coming around on Halloween looking for free munchies. According to the product page at Rakuten, the made-in-Japan chews are made from Turkish paste (whatever that is) and pumpkin. The ingredients list mentions rough protein, crude fiber, crude ash, crude fat, and water. Come to think of it, this "gum" isn't fit for dogs OR teenagers. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image via Rakuten/Celebdog)



First impressions often set the tone and though you can't judge a book (or snack, food or drink) by its cover, we all do it anyway. If you find any of the above Japanese snacks, foods or drinks at your local Asian or multi-ethnic supermarket or store, give 'em a try. You'll probably find they taste better than what their wrappers appear to promise... or threaten. (weird Japanese pumpkin snack food image at top via Eden Politte and above via Somewhat Simple)