by Mary Grace Otis from The Global Mom Show
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Snacks from Around the World
Cooking is fun, but sometimes sampling snacks from around the world doesn’t require turning on an oven or the stove. You can taste flavors from all over the globe simply by looking out for some special pre-packaged, ready-made snacks at your favorite grocery store, or ordering them through an online retailer. With more and more people wanting to find flavors they love from their home countries or from countries they’ve traveled to, retailers have taken note and made international snacks more available.
When I was a student living abroad in Germany (about 20 years ago!) we would stuff our suitcases full of Milka chocolate bars and Haribo Gummy Bears, because you simple couldn’t find them back home in the United States. I distinctly remember the first time I saw a Milka bar and Ritter Sport in Target of all places! I was floored. These days, Milka, Ritter Sport, Nutella, and Haribo Gummy Bears are common finds at grocers throughout the U.S., but there are plenty of snacks that may be less well-known but are still relatively easy to get your hands on. These snacks and candies from countries outside of the U.S. often contain seasoning combinations or ingredients that may be out of the ordinary for you and your children, and will give all of you a chance to expand your perceptions of sweet, salty, and sour. The packaging can also be fun to observe–with different color combinations, languages, and scripts, the packages tell a story as much as the food inside does.
Here are 7 snacks from around the world to get you started on an international snack time!
Madrasi Mix Salty, sweet, and spicy meld together into a perfect bite of Madrasi Mix. Made from peanuts, lentils, rice flakes, chili powder, salt, and curry leaves, this savory snack mix is slightly addictive. You can get it at Nuts.com, which also carries a variety of Indian snacks and mixes. Chakri, golden brown, crunchy spirals made of gram flour, wheat flour, sesame seeds, and spices are also a standard snack served with a steaming cup of chai.
Mexican Twist on Veggies and Fruit This is a healthy after-school snack that is common in Mexico. On street corners in Mexico, there are small stands selling fruits and vegetables: cucumbers, jícama, mango, coconut, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple and more. You choose which fruit or veggies you’d like, and then the vendor will squeeze a couple of limes on top, and sprinkle with a special chile powder. It is the most refreshing snack– healthy “fast food” that everyone loves. You can create this at home with the Mexican seasoning “Tajin.”
Orion Choco Pie Matcha If you are a fan of matcha tea, why not try it infused in your cake? These green-tea infused pies with marshmallow centers are dipped in chocolate as well. You can also get the plain (non-matcha) flavor, but why not try something new? You can order these Orion Choco Matcha Pies from World of Snacks, which has a variety of snacks from all across the globe, and they ship internationally!
Shrimp Curry Rice Crackers My kids love the generic “Oriental” mixes you can find in nearly any bulk foods store or supermarket, and those are good options for introducing some distinct flavors like wasabi, seaweed, and sesame. We have not tried these crackers yet—Rich Shrimp Curry Rice Crackers. They are imported to the U.S. from Jbox, an online retailer with a huge array of snacks from Japan. They claim that these are spicy, and with a flavor like shrimp curry. I’m sure they are anything but your standard rice cracker.
Achiras del Huila Johana Castillo-Rodriguez, a Latina mother of two living in South Florida, and writing at Mama Tortuga, loves these packaged corn snacks. “They are cheesy bites of corn baked!! Very traditional to many parts of the country! Love them!!” These may be a little more difficult to find. Amazon does have some listed, but the cost is pretty steep.
Tim Tams Chontelle Bonfiglio, an Australian mother of two living in Italy and writing at Bilingual Kidspot misses Tim Tams from Australia. “They are two layers of chocolate malted biscuits layered with chocolate cream then covered in another thin layer of chocolate ! You can eat them as a snack or dipped and melted in your coffee. Heaven for chocolate lovers.” You can get them at Walmart and Amazon.
Ulker Rulokat These little tubes are a crisp wafer cookie filled with creamy hazelnut. They call themselves the “most crisp form of happiness.” Snag these and many other Turkish sweets from World of Snacks.
This Video Cracks Us Up! And, it will give you some snack ideas from Malaysia and Singapore.
If you try these snacks and get a hankering for more, there are several great monthly subscription boxes that offer snacks and candy from a different country each month, delivered to your door.
Here are few to try:
What are your favorite snacks from around the world?
Mary Grace Otis is founder and host of The Global Mom Show Podcast. She talks with moms from around the world about how to live globally-minded lives wherever they are and teach their kids to do the same. Listen to Episode 1, with Becky from Kid World Citizen, then snag a copy of Mary Grace’s free guide: 10 Ways to Create a Global Home–No Matter Where You Live.