I'm Eating What?! Tamarind Ball Candy

I'm Eating What?! Tamarind Ball Candy
Photos by Eric Barton

Leave it to your boss to inadvertently ruin your good mood. After last week's grass jelly debacle, I decided to take fate back into my own hands and hand-select the food I'd be eating for this week's post. At my last trip to Publix, I was waiting in the checkout line, just behind someone writing a check for three bucks of groceries, when a bright-yellow package caught my eye.

It read Ocho Rios Tamarind Ball Candy and had a comical picture of the world's happiest bee. It also boasted a couple of "Guaranteed A-1 quality" and "100% Natural" stamps on it. I quickly grabbed the package, paid for it, and put my mind at ease knowing this week, my taste buds wouldn't risk permanent damage.

I walked into the office, smiling and proclaiming I'd found my food item for the week: what looks to be delicious sugar-coated candy. The boss tells me he's had it before, and it's an ingredient in a sauce that I'd never be able to guess. Rather than ruin it, I asked him to keep it a secret so I can taste the Tamarind Ball Candy unadulterated. About an hour later, he confesses he can't keep a secret and blurts out "Worcestershire sauce" before walking back to his office. Good mood: gone. How does one make a candy from a major ingredient in a meat marinade? I sulk around the office for a while before deciding to go ahead and take my medicine.

I tear open the package and dump the contents onto the desk. About seven

round, sugar-coated, brown... droppings landed on the desk with a plop.

I'm Eating What?! Tamarind Ball Candy

A couple of people observe that they look like little balls of poo rolled in

sugar. Not wanting my anticipation to plummet any further, I grab the

most sugar-coated of the bunch and pop it into my mouth.

I'm Eating What?! Tamarind Ball Candy

My teeth start

tingling almost immediately thanks to the brown-sugar coating. I let

the taste of sugar linger for a few seconds before biting into the

tamarind ball. The texture is like one of those candy jelly orange

slices, only stringy. As soon as the now-exposed inner

layer of tamarind washes over my taste buds, the sugary taste in my

mouth is complemented with a sour one. Not nearly as sour as a lemon,

but somewhere on the Sour Patch Kids end of the imaginary sour scale I

just made up. John Linn summed it up perfectly by proclaiming tamarind

ball candy "nature's Sweet Tarts."

But watch out, though, some of these little balls contain pits, which were a bit of a surprise to find in the middle of a candy. Which probably explains this warning.

I'm Eating What?! Tamarind Ball Candy

If you'd like to try some out for yourself, seek out the checkout aisles in your local Publix. They'll run you about $1.50.

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