If you’re looking for something to munch on, there are plenty of options once you step into the Asian snack aisle at your local grocery. There was a time when the Asian snack aisle wasn’t even a thing, remember. So don’t be surprised if that impulse buy quickly turns into a trip down memory lane.
Maybe it’s from all those hour-long family weekend trips to the Asian grocery stores for those exclusive finds. Perhaps it’s from all the times you had to answer “What is that?” from curious classmates during lunchtime. Or maybe it’s the excitement you felt when a family member brought you back a much-coveted, available-only-in-the-motherland treat.
Whatever the case, good times. The memories you’ve made falling in love with these treats will last long after you’ve shaken out that last crumb. So rip open that package and dig in.
You were the popular kid on the playground if you had these Japanese treats in your back pocket. What child could resist the creamy, crunchy allure of Pocky? One part pretzel, one part candy, 100 per cent deliciousness. There were always plenty of sticks for sharing, but we don’t blame you if you ate the whole pack yourself. Flavour profiles range from wild (hello, Adult Amber Whisky) to the wacky (s’up, Pumpkin Apple) but our hearts are forever faithful to strawberry and chocolate.
Ah Pretz, Pocky’s salty-savoury sibling. You were the one that taught us salad-flavoured snack items were not only a possibility, but actually delicious! Thanks to your tried-and-true stick snack form, our palettes were exposed to so many bold flavours, like cheese & olive and even Canadian maple.
While other young snack aficionados were going bonkers over Dunkaroos, you, our dear Japanese friend Yan Yan, showed us we could always be in charge of our own dipping destiny. Why have just one flavour of frosting when you could have strawberry AND chocolate? And no disrespect to Dunkaroos, but we’ll take animals biscuits imprinted with cute, if confusing words of wisdom, over sport shapes (OK and kangaroos) any day.
In an aisle full of bags, boxes and tubes, these cookies always stood out in the shelves. You came for the hexagonal packages but you stayed for the crunchy panda-shaped shells and cream-filled centres. Then you came back for more because you later found out that these Japanese treats had different flavours like strawberry, chocolate and green tea.
Bin Bin Crackers
When you want the best of both worlds, Bin Bin crackers provide. The deceivingly plain package with that single scarecrow never did these sweet and savoury Thai rice crackers justice. It also never prepared you for how foolish you were thinking you could eat just one. Why package them in twos if you’re going to eat 10 of them anyway? We blame that addictive tamari seasoning.
Suckers for seafood-flavoured snacks (and there are many of us) love Nongshim shrimp crackers. Opening a bag of this South Korean treat usually came with the request from mom or dad to pour the rest of them into a bowl. Even they knew it was impossible not to eat the entire bag in one sitting.
These little treats were pretty much expected when you hung out at your Korean friend’s house, which is probably why you kept visiting week after week for that sweet and crunchy flavour profile. And who could forget the day you found out the same guys who created your favourite shrimp crackers were also behind these snack crackers? What a twist!
You used to think chips were strictly a potato-only affair. But chips made from fruit?! After repeated assurance from friends and family, you saw the light. Not the sunlight used to dry these pieces of tropical fruit found in Southeast Asia, but close enough. Jackfruit is often a gateway into other fruit chips like banana, pineapple and coconut. Is that so wrong, really?