Never Underestimate Mexican Candy
First experience trying Mexican candy and chips
De la Rosa Mazapan, Vero Mango, Pulparindo, Chamoy,Chaca Chaca, Gansito Marinela Pastelitos, Duvalin, Carlos V, Abuelita, Salsagetti, chocolate, tamarindo, watermelon, mango, strawberries, sweetness, saltiness, and more than a hint of spice. How incredibly diverse is Mexican candy!
I grew up in a small country town in Alabama. The only type of candy I knew of was a few types of chocolate and anything with more than 100% sugar. So many sweets that will easily give you a sweet tooth growing up as a kid. So many options to choose from such as Starbursts, Baby Bottle Pop, WarHeads, Ouch! Gum, Spongebob Krabby Patties, and the Wonder Ball. Growing up, friends and I would have a competition to see who would make that sour-face look first after eating sour candy. All good times. What I didn’t know or grew up with was Mexican candy and how different it was to the candy I grew up with.
Because I moved from my small location and traveled across the country near the border, I am now exposed to so many different things, one being Mexican candy. The names of the candy I mentioned in the beginning of this blog is just a small portion of the different kinds of candy. Sweet, salty, spicy, sour, chewy, and nutty are the different tastes that I encountered when trying out these interesting candies.
What’s great is the place I live at always has a vast number of candies not only kids eat, but also adults. This is what kids grew up eating and so their taste palate is different from mine.
What’s in most of the candy? From what I gathered, after going to different convenient stores here, the popular candy is just normal candy or even fruit candy which has that sugary taste but then they add tamarindo. Tamarindo is a fruit from the tree located in tropical areas such as Asia, India, and Africa. The Tamarindo candy powdered covering is composed of tamarind paste, brown sugar, water, sugar, and salt.
For real, my first ever experience with eating anything with tamarindo candy was when I went to a church event where they made these drinks with candy in them. In my mind, I thought this was going to be something super sweet because it’s got watermelon in it. I love watermelon! This drink had watermelon and the watermelon juice in it BUT, it also had the red ring around the cup which reminded me of an alcoholic drink. So, I was a bit confused considering there are children and it is a church event.
I get in line for some and see how the lady makes it. She turns the cup over and puts the tamarindo red stuff on the ring of the cup. She pours in the watermelon juice with the watermelon chunks inside. She sprinks a bit more of the red powdery stuff over the drink. She tops it off with adding a red-looking lollipop. Everything I see in this cup is red. My boyfriend asked me if I really wanted to try this drink. I was like, “Yea. I do!” In my head, I’m thinking this is going to be extremely sweet. Oh how my taste buds were confused. The red gooey substance over the ring and the liquid inside was far from tasting like watermelon. Please forgive me for saying this but I did not like the taste of that drink one bit.
I’m someone who does not like salt on anything other than fries and chips. I don’t even cook with salt. That’s one spice I don’t touch as much. Well, this drink and the powder she put in was seriously salty and sour and had a bit of sweetness to it. Taste buds were confused. I didn’t know what it should taste like. My boyfriend drank all of it but I fished out the watermelon. The candy she put in it also had Tamarindo in it. I wanted to scratch off the powdered covering to reveal the sweet watermelon taste of the candy lollipop. So, my boyfriend sucked out most of the salty covering for me to try a bit of the sweetness.
Again, I do apologize but it was something I did not grow up eating, so therefore, my taste buds just didn’t like it. I wanted to like it so badly considering everyone was drinking it like they had it all their life. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
Another time I tried Mexican candy was at home. My boyfriend gave me this candy in the shape of a circle. It had a nice rose on it. It’s the first candy I mentioned, De la Rosa Mazapan. I saw the word peanut on it and knew I’d like it. This candy is sweet and nutty. My boyfriend always tries to make it a game while opening up the package. The candy is so delicate, the powdered candy can easily break it’s circled form while trying to open the package. So, he always tries to carefully open it and not break the candy. He can do it way more times than me. I just look at the package and there’s already a crack in the candy. It’s so sweet and so delicious.
Another time, my boyfriend brought out a pack of this powdered candy. He said he grew up eating this. It kind of looked like that red salty powder that was in the drink I had. I was extremely cautious with this candy. I didn’t down it like I would if it were the candy sticks with the sweet powder in the inside of it. I took a little pinch of it and tasted it. Oof! It’s so salty. For some reason, the salty taste is what stands out the most to me.
One of the candies I see kids eat around here is in the shape of a Baby Bottle Pop. I believe it’s a liquid form of the tamarindo candy. What I see in grocery stores are these mango or apricot candies with the candy powder on the outside. This one business around here takes candy of all sorts and adds in their own mix of tamarindo then packages them and sells them to people around here and all over. It’s a business and people love it. Walmart here (not where I’m originally from) sells so many different kinds of spicy chips and candy.
Chips too? Yes! Especially Sabritas, Doritos, Tostitos, Takis, and Cheetos. All laced with a coating of spice to them. My new favorite chips are Tostitos Salsa Verde by Sabritas. Never in my life knew chips could taste so delicious. The people are so creative with their bags of chips. You take a bag of chips and add in some chamoy, lemon, and whatever else and call it “Tostitos Locos” or “Doritos Locos”. Locos meaning in crazy. Adding so many toppings inside the bag of chips is crazy. I tried it before but I feel like I have to keep eating it to enjoy the flavor more. But why so much spice?
I did ask my mom why would you eat something that’s full of salt and chili powder if you live in the desert while it’s so hot and dry?
Big brain moment here. I always thought eating or drinking anything with salt in it would dehydrate you. I also thought eating something that’s spicy would make you even hotter. Turns out, the salt in the candy helps put back salt in your body after you sweat it out of your body. You lose salt when you sweat and the way to put it back in is to eat or drink anything with salt in it. The chilli powder in the candy helps you sweat more so your body cools itself. This is the moment when I believe candy can save people’s lives.
Mexicans have thought of everything to still eat candy and chips while living in the desert. Bravo! That is my first experience with trying out Mexican candy. Please let me know what candies or snacks I should try and that are your favorite. I want to learn more of the Mexican culture. Thank you.