When I was growing up in Singapore, I hated school.
Funny how much a person can change, but I was your typical unmotivated, sullenly frustrating student back in Singapore. I dreaded Sundays because that meant I had to go to school the next day, and I was the first one to sprint out the class on Friday afternoons, my level of joy equivalent to that of a POW who had been released.
What got me through the middle of the week, especially the annoyingly tiresome Mondays, was the mid-day sugary snack I would treat myself to on the way home.
Every single school day after class was over, I would walk over to the local 7-Eleven or convenience store with a couple of friends, and we would buy candies.
I had my list of favorite mid-day candies that I would rotate depending on my mood:
1) White Rabbit Candy (a milk-based candy with edible wrapper)
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The family-owned convenience store below my apartment always sold these in 10 cents-bags. The wrapped tastes like paper, but oh my god! It’s edible! It’s fabulous!!
2) Mars Bars (Similar to Milky Way here in the States)
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I bought at least two of these each time: one to eat over the slow, sticky course of an hour, the other for the freezer to eat cold.
3) Violet Crumble (Similar to Cadbury’s Crunchie, it’s this candy bar with a honeycomb-like middle coated in chocolate)
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God I miss these. Can’t find them around here. But for some reason I always felt so gourmet eating these; possibly because I was convinced those were real honeycombs.
4) Werther’s Original Hard Candies
In Singapore, they sold them in a wrapped bar rather than individually-wrapped in a package. I always finished it all in one seating, sucking happily while reading a Sweet Valley book.
5) Yupi Gummies:
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My favorite was the hamburger gummies. Come on. A hamburger in gummy form? I loved the center green and yellow part the most.
So those were my short list of favorite childhood candies. When I moved to the United States, I started loving Jelly Beans, Twizzlers, and Mary Janes.
Currently, I like Kit Kats, Snickers, and Peanut M&M’s. But they’re not as fun to eat as the candies I ate in Singapore because I no longer have the childhood leisure of slowly savoring them, but they’re still perfect for a sweet break in the middle of a draining day.
Recently, I got a package of Darrell Lea liquorice that made me remember how much I used to love gummies and liquorice.
Darrell Lea is an Australia-based private-owned confectionary company. It sells all sorts of candies from liquorice to chocolates, but their best-selling item is still the soft-eating liquorice.
The package was sent by the same representatives of Quorn, because Darrell Lea liquorice is now available in the U.S…and every one of you who live in America ought to get your licorice fix, because this stuff is awesome!!
They sent me four flavors: Black, Strawberry, Mango, and Green Apple.
I can’t be the best judge of the black liquorice because black liquorice reminds me of Chinese herbal medicine, so I gave the black one to my friend Renee, who promptly turned it into black licorice pudding and served it for dessert at her bible study group (which I stupidly couldn’t attend).
But I can tell you this: Twizzlers taste like colored rubber compared to the other liquorices.
God, the strawberry ones were FANTASTIC!!!! Each liquorice comes in a fat, blunt tube:
And the flavor is so rich and vibrant, it’s almost as though the juices are flowing from tube center.
The green apple, if you’re into candy that is less sweet but tangy, was another salivatory flavor (I made up that word).
I wish I had taken a picture of the actual liquorice, but I didn’t dig into this flavor until I was totting the package around school, nibbling happily during the course of my 10-hour school day.
Another word about these liquorices. They have great texture. They are hard enough to have a firm bite and pleasant chew, but not so gummy that you get a jaw work-out, or worse, have to start picking at your teeth.
Thank goodness, because I don’t want to be jabbing at my teeth and making funny faces in the middle of a lecture, you know?
By the way, speaking of candies…here’s a funny story.
When I was in fourth grade (or primary four), studying at Keng Cheng Primary School in Singapore, I once popped a grape candy into my mouth during class.
Well, the rule is that you’re not supposed to eat anything in class, and the teachers are pretty strict about that. Unfortunately for me, my teacher had the nose of a hound and she SMELLED the grape candy!!!
Her nose flared and her eyes started glinting. “Who’s eating candy?” she demanded.
The teacher asked again, this time in a sharper voice: “I smell grape candy. Who’s eating in class?”
Of course, no one spoke up. All my classmates glanced around at each other. I looked about with a fake expression of bewilderment.
“Who is it?” I muttered innocently. “Naughty girl…I mean, boy!”
My teacher was adamant in finding the evil culprit who dared commit the crime of eating a grape candy in class. She made all of us turn around to the student beside us, and to check inside the mouths of each other to see if anyone had a candy in there.
I hastily hid the candy under my tongue, and opened wide for my classmate.
“Here! Here!” someone exclaimed triumphantly over at the corner of the classroom. “He’s the one with the candy!!”
Huh? But I’m the one eating the candy!
Turns out, another poor boy in class had a grape candy in his mouth!! What are the odds, right?! But yeah, he got called out and he got punished.
And I got away scot-free. I was extra-nice to that boy after that incident. He never knew why.
Anyway, now that I think of it, that teacher was ridiculous. I don’t know why she was so mad about a piece of grape candy. Perhaps she should have spent more energy making her classes more interesting so students don’t have to eat candy in order to stay awake.
And what is with that tattle-tale, screaming so happily about finding the candy culprit? Now I wish I can turn back in time so I can slap him over the head.
But lesson learned: Don’t eat grape candy in class. And don’t sit next to a tattle-tale.
Question of the Day: What was your favorite childhood candy? What was the most ridiculous rule you had to obey in school?