Grossed out by the mysterious fig bars at your local deli? Japanese mini-marts have come to the rescue, sprouting up like mung beans across town, with aisle upon aisle of beautifully packaged goodies -- the perfect thing for snackers looking to feed their inner children. JAS Mart opened two new stores over the summer, and M2M, a Japanatorium, recently opened on Third Avenue in the East Village. Here are a few delicious -- and attractive -- treats to try:
- Mochi: Rice-paste balls filled with red-bean paste or green-tea ice cream -- best when eaten off a tiny wooden fork.
- Marshmallows: These pillowy little balls are injected with squirts of chocolate, jam, or, for gourmands, crème brûlée.
- Hi Lite Taffys: A better Starburst. All the chewiness you'd want in a little fruit burst, but they won't stick in your teeth. Great flavors, too, like green-apple and, curiously, milk.
- Roasted chestnuts: Recommended mostly because they are neither almonds nor peanuts.
- Slim Water: A modern CapriSun. Only slightly sugary, it exists in the liminal space between juice and water.
- Pucca Pretzels: The cute fish are filled with chocolate-hazelnut cream. And like so many candies at the Japanese marts, they come in individual baggies that keep you from gobbling the entire thing.
- Burger Cookies: A hungry cow announces the arrival of these delicious, trompe l'oeil chocolate biscuits.