We’re back from an amazing tour in southeast Asia, which included Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore. What do you think took up most of the space in my luggage? Snacks, of course.
This is the second of a series of posts containing tasting of over 35 types of candy and snacks I collected during my travels. The first post in the series can be found here. Today we’re about to discover another 9 snacks, four of which are part of the honey craze which swept South Korea.
1. Crunky – Double Crunch Bar
A combination of a Snickers bar and a Mars bar, this chocolate bar is part of a chocolate candies series by the Korean-Japanese conglomerate Lotte. Visiting Korean supermarkets I was always on the lookout for interesting candies and snacks, which were abundant. However, in the chocolate bar sections It was often the usual western suspects that I can get anywhere in Israel too. When I stumbled upon Crunky I can’t say I was particularly drawn to it, but just that I really wanted to taste some kind of local chocolate candy. The taste also didn’t knock me off my feet – standard cheap chocolate, with a problematic texture. It was both crumbly and chewy which caused me to collect crumbles on my shirt with every bite that I took.
On the up side – their commercial is worth watching though, even if you don’t speak Korean
2. Market 0 Real Brownie
Another popular korean item, which is a big hit among Japanese tourists – said to be made out of 52% real chocolate, 10% butter, 13% egg and wheat flour, with no preservatives, artificial colour and flavouring. I got the small package which includes 4 mini bars wrapped individually. I was very skeptical at first but these actually taste quite nice! The texture is soft and crumbly and the chocolate quality is nice. After heating it up in the microwave for 10 seconds, it tastes even better.
3. Haitai Calbee Takoyaki Flavored Takoyaki Ball
Takoyaki is a popular Japanese street food. The ball shaped pancake is usually filled with cooked octopus and topped with dried bonito. I had a taste of this savory snack when I was in Tokyo but only in Seoul I bumped into a bag version of these. They are similar to big cheese puffs in shape and texture. The flavors are pretty strong – it’s an odd mixture of sweet, savory, smoked and sour. Not sure I would buy these again.
4. Chocolate Shrimp Chips
Yes, I was puzzled when I saw them in Lotte as well. I’m a big fan of chocolate, and shrimps are also a favorite. However, mixing them together into a snack? I had to try it! To my disappointment, the chocolate flavor was so strong I could hardly taste anything else.. I wouldn’t mind nibbling on them if the chocolate was good, but it tasted of really low quality. The kind that leaves a lingering yucky aftertaste. Lotte also released strawberry shrimp chips but I doubt it’ll be any better.
A ring shaped cheese puffs made from corn and rice. They are very crisp in texture and have a strong scent and taste of cheddar cheese. I really liked this one and wished I had more since somehow the bag got empty pretty fast.
On the back of the bag they have a Chez’s Cheezecipes section with two interesting suggestions: Melt cheese on a bowl of Cheezels (I can feel the heartburn already) and turning your Cheezels into a cupcake by adding a topping of your choice. In the picture it looks like they topped the cheese puff with whipped cream and sprinkles – personally I think they were drunk.
6. Calbee Honey Butter Chips
These Calbee chips are something special. Released in 2014, they became so popular to start an explosive honey butter trend among South Koreans. It got so crazy that stores put up paper signs saying they were out of stock and some even prepared a waiting list for customers. Of Course, many other companies came up with their version of the honey butter chips to take advantage of the demand. So does it really tastes that good? OMG YES! The minute you open the bag amazing buttery-honey aroma spreads out and you just know you’re doomed. The chips are really thin and crisp in texture and are so dangerously addictive! What can I say, I got hooked and in desperate need of more of this. Can anyone send me some more please?
7. Honey Butter Dried Squid
Another crazy Korean snack which is also part of the honey butter craze. This is just an example how far the phenomena went when Koreans started covering everything with honey butter. I’ve tried dried squid in the past, and must admit I wasn’t a great fan. When it comes to dried meat I find it hard for anything to compete with beef jerky. There are quite a few brands offering dried squid and particularly honey butter dried squid, but I decided to go with the smallest package I could find. The 40g paper package had 1 small bag inside, with small pieces of match shaped dried squid. The combination of dried seafood and sweet honey was horrible.
8. Honey Butter Cashew Nut
Another uber addictive snack I lament I hadn’t bought dozens of. The cashew nuts are super crunchy and the mild honey butter flavor suits them very well. Just look at the packing – it’s just so adorable. The brand, Tom’s Gilim, offers other honey butter nuts as well: almonds, walnuts, macadamia and there’s also a mix bag if you can’t decide. If you’re visiting South Korea, put them on your to-buy list!
9. Honey and Corn Flavored Seaweed Crisps
One of my favorite all-time-snack is seaweed tempura chips. They are crunchy, tasty and so addictive it’s troubling. I can go through bags of those in a heartbeat. So when I came across this honey and corn version I couldn’t leave it on the shelf. The small 20g package was also a big plus for me, since this was the start of my 3 week trip and I had to think carefully about what I have space for. It’s a Bibigo product – a Korean food company which started at 1953, offering a “modern and more accessible way to enjoy Korean culinary culture”. Their seaweed crisps line includes lots of different flavors, such as almond wasabi, BBQ, almond butter and more. The honey & corn was sweet and pretty nice. Crispy but not too oily. Overall a very nice treat but I still prefer my seaweed chips savory rather than sweet.
For more candy hauls visit these posts: