Sweet Tomato Jello

Mike Grist Food / Drink, Japan 10 Comments

Tomatoes are the great pretenders; spies who ply both sides of the aisle like double-edged moles in a John le Carre novel. One day they’re cropping up as vegetables, hidden amidst a salad, getting all the juicy low-down on what the peas are really up to with the carrots, and the next they’re in bed (are they gay? bisexual? I didn’t say it here first) with peaches and pomegranates, squeezing out seeds seductively and acting all sweet.

Trust the Japanese to capitalize on that. So you think you’re sexy, tomato? Also earthy? Ha ha, f%*k you, into the jello cup you go!

It is the summer of the tomato (or tomats, as they’re fondly known) in Tokyo. Tomatoes are everywhere. I would label it an attack, but honestly, tomatoes are not members of the meat family, and don’t have a chance as bad-asses (except perhaps for the beefsteak tomat).

From conveni to shining conveni all across this land, we can see tomats in as wide a range of cosplay outfits as you might see on Jingu bridge in Harajuku. On the menu today:

– Tomato SOY JOY

– Tomato Pot Noodle

– Tomato Jello cup

So without further ado:

Tomato Soy Joy

Do you know Soy Joy? Are you professional? Soy Joy is a range of breakfasty cereal-type bars made of fruit and that miracle curd distilled from goats- soy. They come in a range of fruity flavors that all, which all taste exactly the same.

It was seeing the tomato Soy Joy that got me started down this quest for all things tomato. A fun fact about tomatoes-

The ancient Romans considered tomatoes to be evil, because they were red like the devil and so damn sexy and juicy on the inside.

Here is the tomato Soy Joy, shot in my balcony paper lightbox:

More flavors than Kit Kat.

Tomats and lemons, looks like.

For you health-freaks out there.

Quite a log.

It’s competition, a true tomat. Who tastes more like a tomat?

I don’t see much red up in here.

I ate the Soy Joy. I’m proud and pleased to report that once again, the taste experts over at Soy Joy industries have done it again- it tastes exactly like all the other Soy Joys in the range. Not even a bit of tomato taste to it.

Well done, Japan!

Tomato Pot Noodle

OK that’s the aperitif out of the way. Let’s move onto the poor man’s entree; pot noodle.What can I say about pot noodles that hasn’t been said before?

Did you know there was a Christmas pot noodle flavor in the UK for a while?

Another fun fact about tomatoes-

– Tomatoes are rich in the 5th flavor group, umami.

Umami means deliciousness. After salty, sweet, sour, and spicy, it is the fifth flavor, and comes down to savouriness. Until 1908 and discovery by a Japanese food technician it didn’t even exist!

Alright, Pot Noodle-

Nice looking tomatoes. About 150 yen.

Nice looking tomato squares. Just another disguise donned by tomatoes.

With cheese sauce. Sounds gross.

Dry. Check out those dehydrated tomato squares. That is space food, baby!

With cheese added. This looks kind of gross.

And the verdict. Actually, this tasted quite a lot like spicy tomatoes. It was good. The tomats have done it again- cloaked themselves in one of their many guises and come up smelling of umami. Nice.

And finally.

Tomato Jello

Here is the trickiest disguise of them all- full on sweet. Sweet tomato jelly. I expect more chops of tomato, that hardly look anything like the actual fruit. But, it cost about 400 yen, so maybe…

If I’d read the small Japanese print, I’d have known it included a whole tomato inside. But that would have spoiled the surprise.

Here is the real tomato for comparison.

Unimpressive, but note- a whole tomato buried in the jello!



Ever seen the like of this?

Spill it tomato or this is what we’ll do to you!

Devilish and sexy innards.

A pretty stunning success. I was very impressed by the quality of this product. A whole tomato, buried in jello. Very sweet, kind of a good texture too- though you might expect it to be all smushy, there was a little bite to the tomato, giving contrast against the soft jello.

Excellent product. SY liked it enough to say she’d buy it again. Tomats, you have done it!

See more weird Japan content here:

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If you’re interested in Japan’s haikyo (ruined / abandoned buildings) check out the web’s best galleries here.

MJG’s fiction here.

Comments 10

  1. This article is bloody funny ! Too bad I didn’t notice all those tomato based products, especially the sweet tomato jelly… it really looks awesome. I’ll try it as soon as I find it ! 😀

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      1. I actually have issues with fresh tomatoes; cooked are usually ok. Just can’t imagine one as a fruit in jelly thing.

        But nice finds, Mike. 🙂

  2. Hi, Mike. Funny article, but I have to point out a couple of points where your research shows less than due diligence. (Did you delete your Wikipedia bookmark?)

    1. The soy in Soy Joy is soy BEANS, a vegetable. DAIZU in Japanese, it’s also used in soy souce, tofu, nato and a billion other nutritious and delicious foods. Nothing to do with goats, except I guess goats would eat it fine and not complain if they all tasted the same.

    2. The tomato was not introduced to Europe until the 16th century, so it would take one mega-seance to find out imperial Romans’ opinion of them. Unless you are referring to an opinion local to the city of Rome.

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      Ouch, double slam David. I guess the joke is on me here for at least one of these- the soy thing from goats was intended as a silly ‘humorous’ aside, but plainly less humorous than just plain wrong 🙁
      The tomato in Rome thing I heard from a friend, who read a book called ‘Tongue’, in which a culinary ‘expert’ goes on about little food trivia a lot. I wasn’t too sure it was true when I heard it- seems you confirm that is so now.
      Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow David!

      1. Sorry if I was humour-impaired when I read the article. Glad you could take the criticism in good spirit.

        And reading further in the Wikipedia article reveals that there WERE rumors that tomatoes were poisonous when they were first introduced in Europe. The stems, leaves, and unripe fruit actually do contain a small, and generally harmless to humans, amount of the poison tomatine.

  3. Did you know the tomato is also…….. duh duh duh carnivorous. It catches bugs and fly’s with the little hairs on its stems, eventually the bugs die and the plant sucks the nutrients out.
    Evil little bastards 🙂 Quickly eat them all before they get us.

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