What’s new: In partnership with Irie Seika Confectionary Company the Chigusa Hotel in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture has developed a curious type of colored sugar candy or konpeito (金平糖 from the Portuguese word confeito) that is sold under the brand name Teppeito (鐵平糖). The te (鐵) of Teppeito is written with the classic Chinese character for iron. Even when taken in small quantities, these tablets cause the sensation of having one’s mouth fill with blood.
Why it matters: Teppeito, which has actually been around since 2016, recently got a shot in the arm—or mouth in this case—when news about the odd sensory experience that can be achieved by eating just one piece went viral on Twitter.
What they’re saying: “All it takes is a single crystal of ‘flat iron’ sugar. About 30 seconds after I put it in my mouth, it tastes like blood is spurting out of my mouth,” tweeted Uchaka in a tweet that has since been retweeted almost 20,000 times and liked by 60,000 people.
- “I think I have gingivitis. It makes me feel like a tooth has fallen out. My whole mouth tastes bloody,” Uchaka added.
- Uchaka’s viral tweet has prompted many others to try this new type of candy. One person replied, “Actually it tastes like iron…It’s the curious feeling of having licked an ingot of iron all over.” (Unlike most people, this person must have had previous experience trying to taste every surface of a solid bar of iron…maybe while listening to heavy metal, too.)
- Even the main distributor describes the sensation of eating Teppeito bloody candy as having “a slightly iron taste.”
The big questions: What is Teppeito “flat iron” sugar, and why would anyone want to eat candy that makes it taste like your mouth has been flooded with blood?
- Teppeito “flat iron” sugar is a unique form of candy that ends up tasting like blood once sugar and salt are mixed together with actual iron dust. It was developed after more than half a year of adjustments to ensure just the right balance between sweet and savory flavors.
- Teppeito is the brainchild of a manager of the Chigusa Hotel in Kita Kyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. The hotel was opened just over 100 years ago across the street from the Yahata Ironworks, which laid the foundation for Japan’s modern industry and economic growth.
The candy was developed as a souvenir to commemorate the designation of the Yahata Ironworks as a World Heritage site.
- The concept was to ensure that visitors to the historical ironworks would never forget their encounter by literally having them leave with the taste of iron in their mouths.
- Until the viral tweet, sales had, however, been modest.
- Teppeito is still made by hand and only sold at the Chigusa Hotel. A 40g box retails for 400 yen/box (approximately US $3.25 before tax)
What’s next: Due to popular demand, Teppeito may soon become available on Amazon.com.
- Although it is still experiencing delays, Irie Seika Confectionary Company is currently ramping up its production capacity.
- It will soon become possible to purchase Teppeito online once the Chigusa Hotel launches an e-commerce section on their website in mid-April.
Links to Sources: https://maidonanews.jp/article/14578559 and https://www.chigusa.co.jp/catering/sweets/1631/.
More Stories from Japan Insider