If you’re anything like us, you’re always on the hunt for the next greatest snack. And while Goldfish, pretzels, and popcorn are obviously delicious options, they’re beginning to lose their mid-afternoon luster. Next to the U.S., one area of the globe that absolutely loves to nosh…at all hours…any time of day…is Asia. Southeast Asia, in particular, has a drool-worthy array of sweets, treats, and bites to satisfy any unexpected hunger pang.
We sat down with the team at SiriusXM’s Wake Up with Taylor to sample a few authentic flavors that are slowly but surely making their way to the states.
Here’s a breakdown of what we tried, as well as our general thoughts. One thing’s for certain: “king of fruits” and notoriously stinky durian is an acquired taste.
Roasted seaweed snacks have become an American staple (thanks to an obsession with sushi), but you’ll be hard-pressed to find everyday indulgences like chips or crackers infused or flavored exclusively with seaweed flavor. Such is not the case in countries like Vietnam and Cambodia where seaweed is used as a seasoning for something as basic as Pringles. But once we popped, did the fun really not stop?
Our consensus: The “fishy” smell is really overwhelming at first, though it’s definitely subdued as you continue eating. These could benefit from wasabi, Thai chili, or some other Asian flavor to detract from the brininess of the sea.
If you’ve never heard of Durian, you’ve clearly never traveled to Asia. It is perhaps the most beloved fruit in the region, though its gym sock, rotten onion, dirty garbage smell can be quite off-putting to many (duh). In fact, the spiky delicacy is actually banned from public transportation and planes to prevent the scent bomb from infiltrating small spaces. Since it’s cooked in practically every way possible, both savory and sweet, we opted for the latter in the form of a green bean durian cake from Vietnam.
Our consensus: No real trace of the signature smell (which is a great thing), but the texture was super chalky, bland, and all-around unappetizing. Since durian is already sweet, it’s actually quite delicious as an accent flavor to traditional dishes. (We tried durian vegan pizza in Vietnam and it was heavenly!).
Matcha is having a moment, but green tea has made its way stateside for decades. Since the flavor of green tea is already so muted, it complements a variety of ingredients and can be prepared in multiple desserts. We got our hands on the highly-coveted green tea Kit Kats, though ours came from Thailand and not Japan. (We’re not sure if that made a difference, but we’re not really sure it matters.)
Our consensus: Freakin’ delicious. Why can’t we have nice things?