Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gari Gari-kun Napolitan

OK, I couldn't help myself. My better angels said, "No!" but the draw, the absurdity of it all, made me lose all reason and I bought it. Napolitan flavor. It says it all. Here's a frozen confection by Akagi, done under their Gari Gari label - largely  a creditable producer of popsicle-like snacks. This one, though, is ostensibly savory. It's all part of a promotion to keep things on the absurd side - remember Jones' Soda Turkey and Gravy flavor? They've made beef stew popsicles and corn potage-flavored ones, which were very popular. However with Napolitan, they actually suffered bad press and pulled them pretty quickly.

The Gari Gari-kun Napolitan bar is based on the classic yoshuku favorite, Napolitan spaghetti. This spaghetti is basically ketchup with homeopathic amount of vegetables. A taste acquired from childhood, for millions of Japanese it's a natsukashi (nostalgic) taste. For those introduced to it in later life… well… like TastyKakes, I guess you had to grow up with it. All that aside, the popsicle version is what happens when you let some particularly transgressive food technologists the go-ahead with their most aggressive ideas.

So, here's what it was. A molded quiescently frozen pop. The outside, a mildly sweetened tomato flavor. The bit of milk analog that bound it would have made one think of tomato soup - frozen - but it had more of a cheap canned-tomato funk. The taste itself was marvelously unpalatable. Neither having any tomato freshness nor sweet summery-ness, it left a lingering bitterness that tickled the partoid glands in particularly annoying fashion.  Like in the I-wanna-puke way.

Beneath that layer lay crushed ice with tiny bits of tomato gelatin. I suppose it was to give a bit of pasta-like texture, but also to continue the questionable tomato goodness at the essence of the experience.

I give it up to Gari Gari. They make a nice nashi-flavored pop that's about as close as one can get to a paleta in this neck of the woods. But with the Napolitan bar, they've crossed the line. I wonder what's next? Tonkotsu ramen bars?