Asian Snack Foods Reviewed!
This turned out to be a really fun Christmas present!
My sister's family hit it out of the park for Christmas 2020 by sending my wife (Stacey) and I a box of snack foods from Asia. Over a handful of nights, we sampled the items in the box on a trip to Asian flavor town! It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed the experience. Read on to see what we thought of the various items in our box of treats!
A neat selection of Asian treats!
I have no clue what some of this is! HAHAHAHA!
I've had both strawberry and banana flavored milk before. But melon?!?! I can't wait to try that!
Lays Mala Barbeque Flavor Potato Chips (Origin: Thailand)
The first item we tried kicked us in the face. Seriously, it almost literally kicked us in the face like a Thai kickboxer! Stacey and I weren't prepared for the olfactory assault these things provided upon opening the bag. They smelled very strong! I can say I've never smelled anything like these "crisps" before. To be honest with you, the odor from the bag was so strong and leaning towards unpleasant that I had a very low expectation of what these potato chips were going to taste like.
I will tell you though, you can't always judge a book by its odor! I rather enjoyed the flavor of the chips, and found they had a spiciness that built and built with each one. The flavor was STRONG, with hints of BBQ, and possibly some sort of seafood flavor? Maybe fish sauce or freeze dried shrimp? Stacey didn't make it through but a few of the chips, mostly due to the heat. But she also said that they tasted exactly like they smelled. HAHAHAHA! I'm okay with that though because it meant I got to finish the bag!
A funny side effect though; a couple of hours later, my hands still smelled of Lays Mala Barbeque Flavor chips! And the next morning? My hands STILL smelled like these chips! That is one strong odor!
Mala Barbeque Flavor Lays from Thailand!
Strawberry Kit Kat (Origin: Japan)
I love Kit Kat bars, and have been delighted by the new trend from Kit Kat of releasing different flavors here in the United States; like mint chocolate and mocha flavored Kit Kats. It was recently that I learned that Kit Kats seem to be a fairly popular candy in Japan and that they have a ton of different flavors!
Before opening this Kit Kat, we had no clue what flavor it was. In fact, I didn't even know it originated from Japan until Stacey read the web address on the back and it ended in ".jp" (indicating a Japanese domain to the web address). But, upon opening the Kit Kat, we could tell that it had a strawberry and yogurt smell to it. It in fact tasted of strawberry and yogurt, and was pretty good. I will also tell you that it dampened some of the heat that was lingering in my mouth from the Mala Barbeque Flavor Lays, which was kind of welcome.
What flavor is this? Penguin?
Break me off a piece!
Mini Candy Cone (Origin: Unknow!)
Sorry! I can't tell you where these came from! The only word on the packaging was "strawberry". There were two of these little things in our box of Asian goodies, so we each had one. The miniature ice cream cone was made out of the same wafer stuff that a regular wafer cone is made of, only it was just really, really small! The "ice cream" part of the candy was kind of like a marshmallow type confection, and there was a tiny bit of strawberry jelly in the center. It was a pretty fun little candy!
Strawberry what? At this point it's a mystery!
These things are seriously miniature!
Lays Sweet Basil Flavor Potato Chips (Origin: Thailand)
After the experience opening the Mala flavored chips, I approached opening this flavor with some caution, and was surprised they weren't odoriferous. Both Stacey and I picked up a hint of a peanut smell mixed in with unknown spice odors from the bag. The flavor was pretty good, and much milder than the kick in the face that the Mala flavored chips offered. I didn't taste any basil, but there was a mild heat that built with each chip that grew into a nice spicy burn. It was a little too much for Stacey, but I found it quite enjoyable!
Salt Lemon Kit Kat (Origin: Japan)
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with "Salt Lemon" flavored Kit Kats; what an unusual combination of flavors for a candy! But Salt Lemon Kit Kats are pretty good, and not at all salty tasting. They had a really, really light lemony flavor along with the same yogurt flavor the strawberry Kit Kat had. It was a little refreshing, again, after some spicy potato chips!
Salt Lemon. What?
Miniature Kit Kat!
Bai Chuan HongYuan Guava Hard Candy (Origin: China)
HAHAHAHA! We thought these were pear candies; it wasn't until trying to find out more information about them that I learned they were Guava flavored! I've had a variation of these candies before at a local Pho restaurant, in apple flavor, and love them. The first taste you get is a really tart, but then it settles into a mellow fruit flavor, that we assumed was pear. And towards the end you get a taste of some kind of spice. I thought it was more towards clove, but Stacey said she thought it tasted like a ramen noodle spice pack. I liked these, even thought they aren't pear flavored! HAHAHAHA!
It's not pear!
Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk (Origin: South Korea)
As a little kid, I always loved banana flavored milk. Usually it's really sweet and sugary tasting; probably the reason I loved it as a kid. Stacey wasn't interested in this, so I got it all to myself! I was really surprised how light in flavor this was. It leaned more towards the milk flavor with just a little bit of banana flavor. It was a nice little treat that tasted good without being over the top or too sweet. Plus, me drinking out of the squeeze box drove my dog Moe nuts for some reason. And that was entertaining!
Nice, light treat.
Malang Cow Candy (Origin: South Korea)
Being I don't read Korea, this treat was nothing but a bunch of surprises! Upon opening the bag, we found small individual wrapped candies. And when we opened those, we were surprised to find something that looked like butter-mint candies. They actually look nothing like the candies pictured on the packaging! Another surprise; the texture. The texture was a cross between marshmallow and toffy. The flavor was pleasant; a little vanilla, a little milk, a little sweet. Not a bad little treat at all!
Malang Milk Candy.
Not exactly what we were expecting!
It looks nothing like what is hinted on the packaging!
Binggrae Strawberry Flavored Milk (Origin: South Korea)
This flavored milk was more like the stuff I grew up with as a kid! It was, of course, strawberry flavored. But it was much sweeter than the banana milk from the same company, so I liked this a little more than the banana flavored milk.
Zaizai Fruit Candy (Origin: Possibly Vietnam?)
I can't tell you exactly where it was from; I'm guessing Vietnam from what I've found on Google. I can't even tell you what flavor it was! I can tell you that Stacey and I didn't think these were the most appetizing looking treats around, but they were pretty good tasting. These little candies had a texture similar to the Malang Milk candies we sampled from South Korea, but a bit tougher. The flavors were nice; vanilla, corn, milk, and vanilla cake in taste. BUt damn, they weren't pretty!
What is this!?
It's not pretty! But it tasted good
Binggrae Melon Flavored Milk (Origin: South Korea)
Okay! This one was a bit weird, but not unpleasant! I didn't know what to expect from a melon flavored milk, but it was melon flavored! It really tasted like juice (or milk?) squeezed directly from a cantaloupe into a juice box. It was very strong of melon flavor and had very little of a milk flavor to it. It wasn't overly sweet, just having the same sweetness from a melon or cantaloupe. It had the faintest flavor of milk on the back of the taste. Interesting!
This one was definitely very interesting!
Yaokin Umaibo Mentai Snack (Origin: Japan)
I laughed when I opened this treat, because it's not what I was expecting it to be. Based off the colorful wrapper, the crazy graphics, and the weight, I thought it was some kind of fluffy candy. What I found when I opened it was it was basically a big puff tube with some sort of foul smelling flavoring to it. It smelled kind of fishy and spicy; it wasn't a pleasant smell at all! But yet another surprise; it was actually pretty good tasting! It had a little bit of a BBQ type flavor with maybe just a hint of the fishiness I picked up in it's pretty strong smell. I actually really liked it. My wife on the other hand; not so much! The aftertaste it left in my mouth was not the greatest, but it was nothing a swallow of beer couldn't fix! I had no clue what this thing is or where it's from until I started working out my Google-foo! Through Googling a bunch of weird guesses, I found out that this is a Japanese umaibio, or "delicious stick". I laughed when I found a vendor selling this specific flavored treat and read their discription of it:
"This savory and crunchy puffed corn snack stick is called Umaibo, which is a famous Japanese snack. It tastes like Mentai, a taste specific to the Kyushu area. The mentai flavor truly brings out the best of spiciness. The packing is decorated with the cute Umaemon popping out of a bottle like a genie. So cute and tasty!"
Further research revealed that "mentai" flavor is derived from pollock fish eggs. Traditionally, mentai flavor comes from marinating the pollock roe in chili pepper flavors. Yum? Umaibio seems to be a really popular treat in Japan, with around 18 flavors to choose from. The mentai flavor is supposedly the most popular of the umaibo flavors!
What in the world is this?
What in the world is this!? HAHAHAHA! Google revealed all!
Hello Kitty Cake (Origin: Japan)
On the package, this looks like a Moon Pie! And guess what. It was just like a Moon Pie! It was just a little smaller than the typical Moon Pie that we have in the United States. It was pretty good. There were no questions or surprises with this treat!
Hello Kitty Moon Pie?
Hojicha Tea Kit Kat (Origin: Japan)
We're not 100% sure on the flavor of this Kit Kat, but I can definitely tell you that my wife did not like the smell or flavor of this; opining that it was a mixture of green tea and fish! The smell wasn't that awesome. The flavor wasn't the best, but it was pretty sweet, so it wasn't horrible. The best I can figure, with the help of Google and looking at Japanese Kit Kat flavors, this particular sample was Hojicha Tea flavored, a roasted green tea. I'd eat one again if it was set in front of me, but I wouldn't seek it out.
Hojicha Tea flavored
It's certainly not bad looking
Crown Strawberry Chew Candy (Origin: Korea)
And here we have arrived at the last treat to review from this awesome present; Crown Strawberry Chew candy. These were pretty good and reminded me of Starburst, just a little tougher to chew through. In fact, I thought I was going to rip my teeth out, initially. They had a good strawberry flavor!
I had to look these up to figure out where they're from!
Nicely, individually wrapped.
About half the size of a Starburst with twice the chew!
Thank you Devon, Jonathan, and Ema! This present was really fun and thoughtful. We had a blast trying all of the treats, and it really appealed to the food nerd in me!
I have to say, it was fun trying these treats, but I can't decide if it was fun in itself, or if it was more fun watching my wife try the different Asian treats! Sometimes she was surprised by how good a flavor was, or how different it was from what she was expecting. Sometimes the look on her face was because something was flavored with pollock roe, or it was so spicy it burned her face off! It was definitely entertaining! And the treats where good!