I've seen Meiji's Almond Chocolate snack on Asian supermarket shelves since I was a kid, but it didn't entice me (I'm guessing because there were no cute, colorful characters on the box) until I recently set my eyes on a new flavor: Crispy Puff. (Apparently that's how you reel me in as an adult.)
I would've stopped at Crispy Puff if not for spotting three other Almond Chocolate flavors in the candy aisle at the Hong Kong Supermarket* near SEHQ. Which is why I ate four boxes of the stuff. Here's a look at the different varieties.
The exceptionally crisp almonds taste great—better than other chocolate-covered almonds I've tried—but the thick milk chocolate coating doesn't lend much flavor, at least compared to the other three varieties. And while it's probably a good thing that the chocolate isn't too sweet, I wish it were a tad sweeter. Considering the other choices, I wouldn't buy this again.
This version has two layers of chocolate: milk and semi-sweet. The semi-sweet helps amp up the chocolate flavor. Definitely pick this over the regular.
These almonds are covered in a combination of puffed wheat (it looks more like millet, but the box says "puffed wheat") and milk chocolate for two kinds of crunch in each bite: the light, airy crispness of the puffed wheat bits and the clean crunch of the almonds. This is my favorite of the four.
Meiji partnered up with Japanese snack company Kameda for Almond Crunch: almonds encased in a sweet, crunchy cracker layer, then coated in a layer of chocolate mixed with Kameda's crushed "persimmon seed" snack—crackers made of glutinous rice and flavored with soy sauce and spices. I thought Crispy Puff was crunchy, but it pales in comparison to Almond Crunch. This has crunch to the second power, along with more salt and a hit of spiciness. I must admit I prefer the less extreme Crispy Puff over this, but only by a smidge.
What do you think of Meiji's Almond Chocolate?
* Two weeks ago Hong Kong Supermarket had every flavor, but when I visited this week they only had original and Crunch. Nooooo, where did my beloved Crispy Puff go? Keep your eyes open for the other varieties.