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Confessions of an International Junk Food Fiend


Jason Perlow
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I don't know what it is about chips and munchies from foreign lands, but I love 'em. Whether its the weird flavor combos or alternative starches and preparations that you don't normally see in the US, or their more assertive and bolder spicing , they are both fascinating and tasty.

I must say my current favorite chip-producing country is the Phillipines. Why? Well, we have a lot of Filipino groceries in this area, and by far I think they produce some of the best and most varied junk food of any nation -- and they aren't afraid to get serious with the spices. In particular, I really like those crunchy coated peanut poppers called "cracker nuts" that have various MSG-laced flavor powders on them, with flavors like "Adobo" and "Hot and Spicy" and "BBQ".

http://www.pilipinomart.com/addcart.asp?pr...lse&39JFS=False

I also really like these Clover Chips, which are an addictive tapioca starch and corn blend:

http://www.lesliesnacks.com/products.clover.html

In particular I have a bag of the "Ham and Cheese" flavor ones open now.

Second to the Philipines I think I would have to say Japan and Korea, simply because of their huge variety (the Japanese/Korean LOTTE and Meiji corporations are utterly gigantic, and have a product list on the scale or RJR/Nabisco and Beatrice/Unilever combined) , but they tend to focus on fishy flavors for a lot of their chips, so I am much more selective when choosing from them. I particularly like the Wasabi and soya flavored stuff. Meiji's PRETZ line is also one of my favorites, in particular their corn flavor.

Third on my list is Israel -- with Kosher dietary laws for producing most commercial food, it seems an unlikely country for such good junk food, but nevertheless, they do have some good stuff, because they have chips flavored with Zataar, sesame and cumin and Israelis arent afraid to be spicy -- the OSEM company in particular produces "Bissli" and I like their Felafel and Smokey flavors a lot:

http://www6.ivenue.com/holonfoods/productCat2832.ctlg

http://www6.ivenue.com/holonfoods/item38780.ctlg

http://www6.ivenue.com/holonfoods/item38783.ctlg

What are your favorite International chips/snacks?

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I love Wasabi Peas! They are good by themselves or mixed in with other stuff, like spinach salad for example. They also fit well in my tackle box, so I can enjoy them on the boat. Great stuff, those little wasabi peas.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Kame Rice Crackers. Cheese flavored are good, Onions not bad, Seaweed flavor tends to be very stale, and Plain are good. I thrive on salty crunchy junk food.

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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Kame Rice Crackers. Cheese flavored are good, Onions not bad, Seaweed flavor tends to be very stale, and Plain are good. I thrive on salty crunchy junk food.

I agree with you on the Ka-Me crackers. In addition to cheese, I really like the Shrimp and Wasabi flavors, actually, but I am not sure if they have been imported in a while.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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In Bangkok I had Green tea Potato chips. My mouth couldn't tell what was going on. So naturally, I just kept eating them.

"Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage."

Woody Allen

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Third on my list is Israel -- with Kosher dietary laws for producing most commercial food, it seems an unlikely country for such good junk food, but nevertheless, they do have some good stuff -- the OSEM company in particular produces "Bissli" and I like their Felafel and Smokey flavors a lot:

http://www6.ivenue.com/holonfoods/productCat2832.ctlg

This page shows a couple of my favorite snacks as well. I love the Beigel & Beigel Sesame Pretzels (if you live in NYC you can get them at Fairway). Also the American Peanuts, which are unlike anything you'll ever find in the states.

Falafel flavored and Onion flavored Bissli are another favorite, although you don't want to kiss anyone for about 24 hours after eating a bag. :sad:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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For those of you who love wasabi peas, you will LOVE what I am eating at this moment.

It is called soba wasabi mame iri (soba with wasabi beans) and it is deep fried soba noodles with wasbi soramame (very similar to fava beans), the noodles are sprinkled with wasabi powder as well. These are incredible! it actually tastes like really wasabi not that fake stuff, I found these at Costco here in Japan of all places, doubt they are available outside of Japan though.... :raz:

i11027.jpg

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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wasabi cashews...the peas are delicious too - but how can you deny the power of the cashew?

Cashews are awesome no matter what country they come from. Have you ever had the crazy spicy ones from India?

India is another country with "interesting" junk food... but most of it is not to my taste. The crazy spicy cashews though are fantastic.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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The kosher Israeli Cheetos and Doritos produced by Elite under license are also very good.

Oh, I just love Israeli junk food. Especially the chocolate - it has a totally different flavor than American chocolate. I spent five weeks in Israel when I was 15, and I gained about 15 pounds. My favorite was Kif Kef, which is the Israeli Kit Kat

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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I eat them sparingly, but I love Indonesian kerupuk udang (shrimp toasts). Malaysian keropok ikan (fish toasts) are also excellent.

Yes, I've had the Indian masala cashews. I get them from time to time at Kalustyan's. Very spicy, kind of salty, very tasty. I think those are made in the U.S.A., though.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm driving my Brazilian husband crazy with all the different foods. :biggrin: We stock our kitchen with the usual suspects of a U.S. kitchen but then we add some Brazilian guarana (soda), cashew juice in concentrate form (love their chocolates and then there is the wasabi peas, hit the local Asian market for some pastries, noodles, and possible some frozen dim sum items.

Fortunately he enjoys it all.....

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Bombay mix. Used to get it at a health food store in Covent Garden. It's an Indian mix of nuts, noodles and crackery things, all moderately spicy and quite addictive.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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can anyone explain the significance of the first chocolate wrapper under israel in

this collection? :blink:

What the eff is that?

A bearded man laying in bed dreaming about his butcher? I'm troubled...

He's wondering if the meat he's buying is really glatt certified or not.

What it has to do with chocolate, that part is still a mystery.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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can anyone explain the significance of the first chocolate wrapper under israel in

this collection? :blink:

What the eff is that?

A bearded man laying in bed dreaming about his butcher? I'm troubled...

He's wondering if the meat he's buying is really glatt certified or not.

What it has to do with chocolate, that part is still a mystery.

hmmm....maybe you don't have to worry about things like this when you eat chocolate?

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