Along with Pineapple Pretz, Larb Pretz and Maple Syrup Pretz, Mapo Tofu Pretz 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 Mapo Tofu Pretz is manufactured 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 Hot & Spicy Chicken Pretz and Larb Pretz. 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 in 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 Mapo Tofu Pretz by Glico Japan contained 2 packs each with ~20 pieces. It was produced in Japan and purchased in Osaka, Japan in 2015.