We’re back from an amazing tour in southeast Asia, which included Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore. What do you think used up most of the space in my luggage? Snacks, of course.
During the next few weeks I’ll be compiling a series of posts which will include tasting of over 35 types of candy I collected during my travels. So let’s get started with the first 10!
The second part of the haul is available here.
1. Crown Churrot
This snack is available in many supermarkets in Seoul. It seems like Koreans really love Churros as it’s not uncommon to spot a churros stand on the streets of popular neighborhoods. But a churros snack in a bag? That’s the first time I come across something like this! The surprising bit about this snack is that the individual bits actually taste like churros! They’re crunchier, and the taste is a bit mass-produced but there’s no mistaking that sugar/cinnamon combination. Yum.
I only wish they would come in smaller bits, because the snack-to-mouth size ratio makes it a little awkward to chew on. Despite that, the Crown Churrot make for one addictive snack!
The next snack doesn’t look very sexy, to say the least, so I was pretty hesitant before putting it in my shopping bag. I’m not sure what convinced me to do so but I’m glad I picked it up. This cute little snack turned out to be a huge success and I truly regret not buying shitloads of it. The only information in English available on the wrapper is “Corn Potage” and “Japan”. With very few clues about what’s inside the wrapper I braved on. Inside I discovered a tube shaped corn puff snack. The taste was on the sweet side, and reminded me of the Golden Sweet Corn Snack I received in the Philippines Universal Yum Box. Wikipedia told me that this snack is called Umaibō and It’s produced by a Japanese company called Riska. It’s a type of Dagashi, meaning affordable cheap candies for Japanese kids. I got many Dagashi candies from Japan and wrote about them in Japanese Snacks Galore – part 1 and part 2.
Besides corn it has many other different, savory flavors such as salad, cheese, takoyaki and some sweet flavors as well. If I had 10 more of these I would probably eat them right now! If you’re interested to learn more about this popular Japanese snack there’s a really interesting article by Ignition magazine, including an interview with Toshio Ishii, a senior advisor at Yaokin who has worked on several generations of Umaibō.
3. Tirol Banana Pouch
Another Japanese candy I bought in Singapore is Banana Pouch by a brand called Tirol. They are pretty popular in Japan and have a whopping 383 flavors of chocolate, with region limited edition flavors and some wacky chocolate ones such as blue cheese. Not only that but they also release dozens of different flavors every year!
Their cute packaging originally caught my eyes sitting on the shelf. Inside the bag are small chocolate cubes wrapped with cute images of a milk bottle and bananas. There are two variations of chocolate cubes – banana milk with a biscuit in the middle and chocolate banana with a gelatinous center. I really liked both but since I always prefer some crunchiness in my chocolate the first version was my favorite. I would definitely buy this one again and after learning about all the different flavors available, it really makes me want to start hunting them down!
4. Easter Caramel Popcorn Chocolate
I also got another kind of Tirol chocolate – Easter Caramel Popcorn Chocolate. These come in a cute little box. Inside the box there’s a bag covered with a popcorn pattern containing individually wrapped chocolate cubes. The caramel chocolate is marbled with popcorn bits and chocolate biscuit pieces. It’s salty and sweet and I think sweet popcorn lovers would dig this one. Unfortunately I’m less excited about sweet popcorn so this one was not for me.
5. Jagabee Purple Potato
Calbee is a very famous chips company. They even have a store in Tokyo, Harajuku, which sells freshly made chips in different flavors. The Jagabee purple potato chips usually come in a small cup or in little bags. They’re essentially slightly thick, salty and crunchy crisps. They have a very subtle flavor. Though not a perfect fit for my palate, I got some for my colleagues and they all loved it.
6. Crispy Batter Chicken
Crispy Batter Chicken is another snack in a mystery package. Other than the rather descriptional name of the snack, there’s no other information in English. It’s a crunchy, savory snack with slight heat kick and a bad aftertaste.
7. Tipo Cream Egg Cookies
Tipo Cream Egg Cookies are made in Vietnam by Huunghi which specialize in cakes and confectionary. In the box are a few individually wrapped cookies, covered with white egg cream. I really disliked this one. It’s as if someone took some old stale bread and downgraded it with disgusting egg cream. This awful cream covers the inside of your mouth with an unpleasant texture that lingers for way too long. Really disappointing.
8. Saku Saku Panda Choco Biscuit
The Japanese are the best when it comes to cute creatures and packages – just look at Saku Saku Panda Choco Biscuit by Kabaya – so adorable! Inside this “Family Pack” are 6 bags with 4 chocolate pandas each. They should really rename it to a “Tali Pack” because I ended up eating everything.
The biscuits are made of three layers: crunchy biscuit, milk chocolate and creamy white chocolate, and of course they’re made to look like little panda faces with different facial expressions. It’s definitely a cute little snack which will probably be a hit with small kids. The creamy chocolate was nice and the biscuit was quite good.
9. Pillow Puffs
The next snack I tried was Pillow Puffs by a brand called Little Keefy. They have one of the cutest mascots I’ve seen and very little information online in English. This snack is manufactured in Indonesia in two different flavors: chocolate and vanilla. It was actually created to promote a game called Keefy v Dinosaur, but weirdly enough there’s no mention of the game anywhere on the box. The packaging promises a “rich creamy chocolate” snack with a “unique balance of crisp and creaminess”. What can I say, there’s no truth in advertising. I really liked the crispy layers of wafers, however, a big part of the puff is filled with air and the chocolate flavor is on the artificial side. It kind of reminded me an Israeli snack called Roladin.
10. Banana Kick
A light and fluffy corn based snack, which has the flavor, smell and shape of a banana (well, kinda). We got this one in Seoul, from Lotte Mart, a large supermarket with tons of interesting snacks.
Visually it is really similar to the most popular snack in Israel, Bamba, which is peanut flavored. Eating a banana flavored snack that looks like a peanut snack was really weird for me. When you open the bag, you are immediately hit with the banana smell. Not the small of one banana, mind you, the concentrated smell of a banana plantation, with thousands of ripe bananas waiting to be plucked and eaten. The taste is quite concentrated, the way-too-sugary sweet which you know is just bad for you. The smell is much stronger than the taste, and the texture is crunchy and fun. I’m a huge fan of bananas and a sweet tooth so it was hard not to like this one, but being overly sweet it was also hard to eat much of.
For more candy hauls visit these posts: