Monday, January 07, 2008

Desi, Candy

One of my favorite activities in Vadodara - being the low rent guy that I am - is to hit the local "General Store" and dig around for some quirky candies to eat. Since cocoa-based chocolates in India, seemingly made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, are crap - I tend to focus on the hard candies.

The idea is to uncover something ridiculously funny in concept and unusual or memorable in taste.

This year's visit threw up two delicious such thingies worthy of a regular spot in the pocket.

One of these is Parle Golgappa candy. Its a little tart with a strong tweak of mint and utterly essential to your existence once you've popped it in your mouth.

Another is slightly more obscure - an attribute always worth more points in my book. It's called "Mast Bahaar Mouth Freshner" and is manufactured by Dada G & Co from Bikaner. It comes in a slim glass bottle about two inches long and half an inch in diameter capped by a terribly flimsy plastic push cap.

The bottle wrapper merrily states "For Clean Breath and Lovely Mood".

And I am happy to say if that doesn't make you chuckle, the bombastic sugar-menthol one-two punches from the miniscule yellow balls therein definitely will.

Also:

15 comments:

Kanan said...

LOL Aspi! you took be back to Vadodara.
Ever since my last trip there, my favorite activity has been to just go to National plaza and go to one of those fancy garment stores for shopping and ask the store wala to get me sandwich with chips (from those laaris outside) *yummmmm* they're so sweet they get bisleri bottles for us once they know we are NRI. ;)

My favorite candies include kiss-me toffee (not sure if they still make it) that comes in red wrapper with black/white logo on it and the orange flavored hard candy balls that come individually wrapped in HUGE bag that we used to distribute to classmates on our birthdays... fun days those were!!!

Hope your break was fun.. (I think it's still going on?)
Happy new year! :)

anusha said...

Hey Aspi,

The Mast Bahar mouth freshner brought back memories of my college when a classmate first brought it to class..This otherwise shy and generally ridiculed, guy became an instant hit specially with the girls who would "go and talk" to him to get 2-3 balls of the mouth freshner..

Hope you had a nice time in India..And have a very happy 2008...

Aspi said...

Hey Kanan, long time no see. I'm back home now but I'll post a few things now and then about Vadodara. Its hard not to :) And now that you mention it, I missed National Plaza this time although I was at Panorama for a bit getting ripped off.

Anusha, welcome and Happy 2008.

Saritha said...

Welcome Back Aspi!More posts about ur home town-that'll be fun:)

Mind Rush said...

Aspi, while on the topic of NRIs would you please write about bargaining and the NRI? I am curious how NRIs view this most sacred desi process.

ritha said...

I love pan-pasand!

Aspi said...

Geez, its hard enough to generalize about NRIs as far as appearance goes - something which I consciously tried to do this visit. But I did ask around about that particular topic and can ask some more.

Ritha, on that topic peripherally, I saw an awesome guthka packet called Dilbaag. With that kind of a name I was tempted to try it but stayed away. Pan Pasand on the other hand I've eaten much of thanks to a neighbor who was addicted.

Amrita said...

I've been spreading the gospel of the sidey candy as much as I can and I'm glad to report there's now a mini cult of Pan Pasand in NYC. However the chatpata ones led to gagging so I ended up eating all of them. I used to like Melody, does anyone remember those? Great, now I have that stupid melodee hai chocalatee song stuck in my head.

PS - I agree with Saritha: we need more tales of Vadodara, usually i only ever hear horrible things about it so it's nice to hear fun things once in a while.

anu g said...

Amrita, Melody chocolates still exist....in two flavours, chocolate and coconut.Its a big favourite of people who dont like the hard and sticky outer shell of eclairs...I dont recall seeing the ad any more, but now, u have got the tune buzzing in my mind too, and its going to haunt me atleast for the rest of the day:).

Aspi said...

Pan Pasand reminds me of Pan Parag which reminds me of that Ashok Kumar-Shammi Kapoor ad. It always used to amaze me that Shammi could overact his heart out even in a 30 second spot.

Subho said...

Heyy Gr8 work I would say...

It was nice to know India's very own offerings which can give the wrigleys,mars and perfetiis of the world a run for thei money..

Please keep posting more news on that front..Even I am an ardent candy lover and love to experiment on Indian flavors.

Any information in this regard would be highly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

The only good Indian chocolate that I can think of at the moment is the one on chocolate barfi. I absolutely HATE American chocolate - for some reason, the American-branded chocolate sold in Britain tastes different to the ones sold in North America (American version tastes quite artificial and watered-down). European chocolate is the best - I stuff my face with Cadbury's all the time.

Aspi said...

ANon, I'm with you on the difference in taste and how UK Cadbury is superior to all other types of chocolates.

But I have found some happy diversions in the US. Mostly dark chocolate if picked carefully can be terrific. The right brands are the ones you buy in the cheaper stores - the expensive ones are too hopped up with richness to taste good.

Beantown said...

aaah, bringz me back to BARODAA!!! panorama, national plaza, siddarth complex, windsor plaza!! haha basically the whole RC Dutt Rd!
Glad 2 see sum baroda natives on this blog, well i actually came across it cuz im looking for the "mast bahaar mouth freshener"
Does anybody know where to order/get them maybe online or something?

Anonymous said...

you can buy them at mini India, Edison, NJ. anything you can buy in India you can buy here. Same quality and same price too !!, add dollar sign instead of rupees, pretty easy.