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Glico Pretz Mapo Tofu

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Along with Pineapple Pretz, Larb Pretz and Maple Syrup Pretz, Glico Pretz Mapo Tofu was part of Glico Japan’s lim­ited edi­tion line-up of sum­mer fla­vours in 2015 that were pre­vi­ously avail­able only as souven­irs brought back from abroad (Hawaii, Thailand, Canada, and China). Mapo tofu is a pop­u­lar dish from Sichuan province in China, and accord­ing to Wikipedia –

con­sists of tofu set in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, typ­ic­ally a thin, oily, and bright red sus­pen­sion, and often cooked with dou­chi (fer­men­ted black beans) and minced meat, usu­ally pork or beef.

Mapo Tofu is a staple of the menu of any chuka (Chinese res­taur­ant) in Japan, although Japanese-style mapo tofu is milder and sweeter than the Sichuan ori­gin­al. As this Glico Pretz Mapo Tofu is pro­duced in Japan, I was keen to see if they’d kept to the power­ful kick of the Sichuan ori­gin­al.

This Pretz is eas­ily the most power­fully spicy of the Pretz I’ve tried, includ­ing Glico Pretz Atsui Omoi no Chikin and Glico Pretz Larb. It’s dus­ted with season­ing and there’s a not­able hit of ses­ame oil, which is used often in Chinese cook­ing, in the smell and the taste of the Pretz. Indeed, the ses­ame oil fla­vour is the first to register on your tongue before a salty burst of fer­men­ted black bean fla­vour emerges in the body.

As with the oth­er spicy Pretz, the spi­ci­ness doesn’t come through as you eat the first Pretz stick but rather rears its head in the after­taste secur­ing its pres­ence in sub­sequent Pretz sticks and build­ing as you keep eat­ing. Here, the spi­ci­ness has both the intens­ity of heat spi­ci­ness as well as a numb­ing spi­ci­ness that you find in authen­t­ic Sichuan mapo tofu — my mouth is burn­ing and numb by the third Pretz stick. But there’s a pleas­ant depth to the spi­ci­ness that’s lack­ing in oth­er spicy Pretz as this one is based on chilli — and not pep­per — and builds upon the taste of fer­men­ted black beans and ses­ame oil.

This box of Glico Pretz Mapo Tofu con­tained 2 packs each with ~20 pieces. It was pro­duced in Japan and pur­chased in Osaka, Japan in 2015.