Thursday, June 5, 2008

Snackety Snack Snack

I am a BIG snacker. I like eating in between meals, out of boredom or just wanting to have something in my mouth (regardless of hunger!). I usually go for salty snacks which crunch. I am quite the chip expert. (I remember my old roommate D and I spending break time, when we took Spanish, looking at vending machines and selecting our favourite snacks...) However, I do enjoy some sweets. Often combining both is actually the perfect solution. For example, a bit of chips, then a bit of chocolate then back to some chips. (After not feeling well pigging out on chips, D and I found the perfect cure: cheesecake!)

Unfortunately, chips and chocolate are not widely available here. Actually, I do know where to find them, they’re just quite expensive. When you’re used to forking 18,000 dong for three sleeves of Oreo’s (for The Boyfriend), it’s hard to pay 63,000 dong for a back of Tostitos (about 4 USD).

Foreign chip selection consists of Doritos, Kettle Chips, Tostitos, Pringles and Lay’s Stax (actually the last two are affordable). Didn’t I say I was a chip expert? Regular chips, with or without ridges (I miss my sour cream and onion Ruffles!), are hard to find, except for O’Star below.

The different aspect of snacks here is the smaller size. There are no 180g bags of chips, and definitely not the megasize bags found at supermarkets back home! This is good for portion control. Not so good when your bag runs out and you’re left craving more. I’ve included the sizes for some of my favourites snacks below.

Banh phong tom, handful, 3000 dong. Banh phong tom are shrimp chips and are sold by vendors walking the streets. You can notice large chunks of pepper - hmmm! I find this on the greasy side though.

Shek Perisa Sayur Vegetable Snack, 55 g, 7500 dong. This Malaysian snack looks and tastes like little banh phong tom, with specks of vegetables, except it tastes less greasy. It also has a little kick sometimes. Perfect for my salt and crunch cravings! I also like to delude myself into thinking it’s healthy because it has vegetables. These are one of my favourite snacks here!

Mut Dau Tam, 190g, 5500 dong. These are berry flavoured, sugard coated jelly candies from Dalat (Yeah, an actual Vietnamese snack!). These blackberry (I think?) ones taste like candies back home. The strawberries don’t quite taste the same. They taste more like dried strawberries.

Mango Candy Mini Drops, 40 g, 6200 dong. These are also jelly candies. These treats from Malaysia are hard to find. I have only found them at the 24 gio convenience store. I love these! Too bad it takes me about 10 seconds to finish a box...

O’Star Potato Chips, 20 g, 3000 dong. These Vietnamese rippled chips are good enough for my chip craves. Unfortunately, the 20 g portion is really just a teaser. The flavours include: sour cream & onion, seaweed and Texas BBQ. I’ve tried the first two flavours, very good; I’ll pass on the third.
Toonies, 35 g, 4000 dong. These treats from Vietnam pretty much have the texture of Humpty Dumpty Cruncheez or hard Cheetos. There are two flavours: vi cay (chili) and pho mai (cheese). I’ve only tried vi cay; it wasn’t hot at all and it’s actually a bit sweet. But it delivers on crunch!

Nui, 3000 dong per bag. The Boyfriend and I discovered these in the Mekong Delta where The Boyfriend bought them for 10,000 dong from a mobile vendor. (She was quite astounded and laughed wholeheartedly when The Boyfriend asked her "Bao nhieu?" - how much?). I think nui comes from the French term nouille, for noodle. They taste like corn and are perfectly crunchy, salty and spicy! The only issue is that they're sometimes a bit too garlicky. That bag may look small but they're extremely filling!
Banh lo tai heo, 4000 dong per bag. I discovered these on the Gastronomy website and found them at the same vendor at Benh Thanh Market who also sells the nui. Lo tai heo actually means pig ear, referring to its similar shape; I actually find they look like pretty seashells. The Boyfriend loves these for their crunch. They just have a slight hint of sweetness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The orion O'Star "Rich" New York Steak potato chips are the tastiest chip I've ever had. Yeah, over priced, and the bag is mostly air, but they are so awesome tasting. I tended to buy at street vendors, or small alley stores in saigon. The coopmart in Vinh Long has them