Treats From Taiwan Are a Treat

I still get international snack boxes from and for the most part I enjoy them but haven’t felt compelled to write up any of the recent ones up until now. The box from Taiwan was a perfect example of what I enjoy about these random boxes. Let me go ahead and tell you this is going to be photo heavy compared to most of the posts.

Were the all good you might ask. No, but they were each an interesting experience and mostly different from something I’d grab at the store here. That’s been the “problem” with most of the others recently. I mean I like cheese potato chips and chocolate wafer cookies but at the end of the day I can get those all over the place here. Taiwan though, they brought their snacking experience A game. My first grab was the big pink bag.

Lonely God rose salt potato twists. Since I didn’t taste or smell any roses I guess they meant the interesting pink color. First bite of these tasted artificial but after a couple the salty potato taste ruled the palate to make for a nice TV watching snack. I have to say the bag size was pretty generous too and the pink kind of grew on me. The next snack though was not so visually appealing.

This little block of stuff was in a plain plastic wrapper with no label or anything. Honestly the picture makes it look better than it did in person so let that sink in. It looked like someone was going to rice krispie treats and had to settle for using grubs. It was not pretty is what I’m saying. Fortunately the taste was good. It was a bit dry and like eating a soft packing peanut (you know you’ve tried biting one). The flavor was a bit like brown sugar with a hint of fruit flavor. You’ll notice that theme of subtle flavors as I go through these.

Teriyaki Shelly Senbei was the next one I tried. I very much enjoyed these crispy crunchy crackers.  It started with a tiny bit of savory and then the sweetness kicked in.  Not very sweet but enough to make it a dessert cracker in my mind.  Simple and tasty. You can’t see the scale but they were about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 to a pack.

Nutrition Biscuits? These are just as yummy as the name implies.  They are dry and crumbly kind of like eating vaguely sweet particle board.  It’s the kind of thing you might find in a preppers bunker. However, as I finished the first one I thought they might be tolerable with a dark black tea or a bit of sharp cheddar.  Since I had both I was able to test my theory.  I was right.  Dunking in the tea softened it and the bitterness of the tea highlighted the sweetness that was there.  The cheese added some creaminess to the crumbly biscuit which improved the texture and the tanginess enhanced that trace of sweet. So if you’re a prepper with dull biscuits pack some tea and cheese.

Bubble Milk Tea Mochi. Typical mochi character, not too sweet and kind of an odd filling.  Didn’t taste milky or all that much of tea honestly. The kind of chewy gelatinous consistency was another recurring theme. Not bad but I’m ok if I don’t have another.

Cheese Slice Strawberry with a My Little Pony spokespony. Super weird. Triangle shaped, hard candies.  I think it’s supposed to be a cheese wedge.  They have an almost sweet tart consistency but a little chewier and more cheese flavored.  There is a faint strawberry aftertaste so it is as advertised.  Really weird and it stuck to my teeth hard. I had to go brush and break out the waterpik to end the cheesiness.

This was the smallest pack in the whole box and I think it might have been my overall favorite. Haw Flakes is what they are called. These little discs were very pleasant. Kind of a sharp sweetness.  Maybe like rhubarb.  Never had hawthorn before but I liked these and would definitely have again. Another simple and tasty treat.

Surimi Bean was another odd treat.  Bean curd formed into a fleshy rectangle and smothered with chili oil and a random sesame seed here and there.  First bite was kind of offputting both in flavor and consistency but by the end I didn’t hate it and that kind of scared me.

Lychee Jelly cup. A little cup of sweet clear gelatin with bit of lychee fruit suspended in it.  Kind of like those jello fruit cups but with only one fruit. The gelatin broke down faster than the regular jello you’d get here in the States.  The lychee was nice and overall it was enjoyable.

This is called a Jelly Straw. It’s like an artificial worm you’d use for fishing. Very moist and floppy. It was not as dense as a gummy worm. It kind of slid right over the tongue and down my throat leaving a slimy trail of indistinct sweet flavor behind. Did I mention they love their jellied stuff?

I saved this one for last because I had a premonition. Konjac Shuang. I don’t know what that means but they were jacked and I shuang don’t want to have them again. These were my least favorite in case you weren’t picking up on the negative vibe. Although it is vegetable matter it was like eating squid that had been cooked and then gone cold but with a spicy orange sauce on it.  The flavor wasn’t bad but the squidiness was, shall we say, unpleasant. And do you see how that orange was staining that innocent paper towel? That can’t be good for you.

I have to say I didn’t love any of these except maybe the haw flakes but this was one of my favorite boxes in a long time because of the shear differentness it provided. I’m hoping the next one is even half as interesting.

Thailand Yum

Siamese Snacks

The September Yum snack box was Thailand themed and continued the streak of fun boxes loaded with interesting and unusual snacks.


I’ll continue highlighting my favorite and number two as well as the worst and most unusual but I’m also going to mention a couple of the others that just need to be touched on because they were both weird and weirdly good.

So the favorite was the first one I tried from the box.

Coconut Snack Bites sounded like a can’t go wrong and that big package looked like it was going to be a two session snacking event.  Alas it was a case of excess packaging but the contents were delicious.  They were little round golden brown crispy treats with a nice toasted coconut flavor. Real shredded coconut that was not too sweet so you got the natural coconut taste.  The package says crispy and yummy and I concur.

My number two was the Coconut Cream-O Choco Plus.

This was a five pack of two cookie sleeves so they were easy to parcel out and enjoy several times.  The cookies had chocolate and coconut flavored caramel. The cookie part tasted like a regular butter cookie that had a well in the center lined with a very thin layer of caramel with coconut flavoring at the bottom and topped with chocolate. The chocolate was soft, the caramel was a bit chewy and the cookie was crumbly. All working in harmony to provide an enjoyable snack.

The worst snack was the only snack I haven’t finished from any box to date.

Big Roll Grilled Seaweed roll Tom Yum Goong flavor.  This was the second snack I tried from the box and thank goodness it was not indicative of the rest of the box.  I’m not a seaweed hater but the mascot looks like Eric Cartman so maybe that should have been a hint.  Man was this not good.  It was a thin, fragile seaweed roll that was flaky and on first taste had a strong salty sea / fishy taste and then I forgot about that as the hot and sour flavor came to the fore.  The hot and sour wasn’t bad but trying to get by that fishy salty nastiness wasn’t worth it with a box of other choices.  One of which was the most unusual.

Sticky rice with coconut cream and mango.  Living up to the name it was very moist and sticky.  Unusual but quite tasty.  At first the coconut and mango were both mild flavors but definitely present.  Then as I got into it there turned out to be a very ripe piece of mango in the center of the sticky rice.  The look, feel and texture could easily be off-putting but it was a tasty little snack once you got past all that.

Two others I liked that were just odd enough I wanted to share them as well.

The Juzi-C gummy strip was a spicy pineapple fruit roll up type of snack.  The strip itself was thin, flat and coated with a light dusting of sugar crystals.  A bite of the stretchy treat got you a sweet pineapple taste that resolved into an eye opening spicy sweet treat.  It wasn’t too hot when balanced by the sugar but it was definitely not something you have every day.

The other was a savory snack.  Jack ‘n Jill sausage and sweet chili potato rings.  This snack was on my radar to be in the weird column because it had a hot dog on the package and it was unusual. They were wee little crunchy rings.  After I opened the package the first thing to hit me was the smell.  They smelled like hot dogs so the package was no lie and as I was eating them the immediate impression was the same but a microsecond after they hit your tongue the sweet chili flavor takes over. Not bad but staying in the weird column.

I signed up for a 6 month subscription and this was box 5 and unless box number 6 totally tanks I’m definitely going to let the auto renew go through.  If you’re interested in securing a box or more for yourself use the link below and you’ll get $5 off and so will I on my future purchases.

Universal Yums referral link


Amazonian Yum


Opening this month’s Yum box I was greeted with the bright flag of Brazil and on the flip side of the welcome were the first puzzle and some quick facts.

The box was filled with a great looking assortment of sweet & savory snacks.

Like last month I’ll cover my favorite, runner-up, least favorite & most unusual of the 13 snacks and this month I managed to snap some shots of the actual food before chowing down.  None of the snacks were too weird or totally out there but some were certainly better than others.

My favorite was the Amori 1000 – Chocolate covered wafer with coconut filling. Based on the description unless someone figured out how to screw up this combo the Amori 1000 was going to be near the top of the heap for me as chocolate and coconut are a combo I love. Of the two chocolate covered snacks this had a better but thinner layer of chocolate than the Cory Pao Dimel.  It also had crispy wafers and nice layers of coconut creme filling in a triangular shape. No one screwed up, this was a great snack that I’m glad I can’t buy on a regular basis because it wouldn’t do my A1C any favors.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.

There was a tie for the runner-up.  Both of the pepper crackers made the list.

Delicitos Pimenta – Pepper crackers. These little pillows of crunchy pepper flavored snacks were unexpectedly great. As I was eating the first cracker I got a whiff of a vinegary pepper smell that started the anticipation then it hit the taste buds. Pretty salty and the pepper flavor is strong and I was waiting for the accompanying burn. It never came. All the flavor and none of the burn on a crunchy pillow cracker. Definitely a winner.

Snacks! Pimenta Calbresa – Calabrian chili crackers were another winner.  There were a ton of these little crackers in the tube shaped bag. They are about 3/4-1″ long (18-25mm for you metric folk) and if they had been segmented they’d have reminded me of the mealworms they sell for bird food, just in shape not taste. The taste of the calabrian chili was like a smoky paprika to me and the size and shape made for a satisfying crunchy snack. They do have a ton of salt too so have a something to drink close at hand.

My least favorite was Pipoca Vivozinha – Sweet Puffed Corn. These reminded me of Super Sugar Crisp cereal in both taste and texture even though they are different grains. They weren’t bad but there’s a reason I never asked for that cereal as a kid unless it had a rocking prize.

The oddest of the lot was one of the small candies.  Bananada com Chocolate – Chocolate covered banana bar. The chocolate covering was dark and had a good, if slightly artificial, taste. When I bit it I expected a light colored filling since it was supposed to be banana but the inside was black like an extremely ripe banana and the taste was similar. It was good but the texture was a bit different than expected and the black interior could be offputting and the taste had kind of a tobacco taste underlying the banana and while that probably sounds gross the overall flavor was okay.

In addition to the snacks detailed above there were some chocolate covered honey bread cookies that reminded me of a moon pie minus the marshmallow plus two different gummy candies, one loaded with sprinkles and the other flavored yogurt flavored.  The other small candies were a peanut flavored one that reminded me of peanut butter fudge but not as sweet and more like a marzipan texture plus a coconut one that tasted like the coconut bars I got as a kid whenever we stopped for gas on long trips.  Plus a few more that I won’t detail but I’m glad I got to try.

Finally if you want to experience a curated batch of Brazilian music videos check out the link below.


Filipino Yum


So I canceled one of my monthly nerd boxes a few months ago and last month I saw an ad for a different kind of subscription box that fit nicely with the theme of this blog.  The Universal Yums subscription box is a monthly box of snacks from a different country each month.

There are 3 different box sizes; 6+, 12+, & 20+ snacks.  I went with the Yum Yum box (12) items as that seemed like a good number to get a decent sample size and 20 seemed like too much.  The May box was my first and the country was the Philippines.

Flipping over the cover sheet as directed I found a ballot to vote for a favorite item, runner up, worst yum and most unusual plus the first of the activities, match the neighboring countries, solve a secret code with answers from the booklet included and a guess next months country.

Under this was the booklet mentioned above.  The booklet tells you more about the country, includes more activities, provides a link to a curated list of music from the country as well as a description of each of the snacks included and finally the answers to activities on the cover card.

After flipping through the book it was time to have a look at the included snacks (see the restraint I showed by looking at words and not food first).  Here’s a snap of the haul.

There were indeed 12 different snack items and I don’t want to take you through each one because that would be wordier than my common blog entry.  What I decided to do for the boxes is follow the ballot model and give details about my two favorites plus the most unusual and the one I liked the least.  This month I realized I didn’t take photos of the individual snack items which I’ll do going forward to provide a visual to go with the narrative.  Here are the snacks laid out in their original packaging though.

In general let me say the box had a good blend of sweet & savory snacks and most of the savory ones were crispy and / or crunchy.  Some were similar to mainstream snacks we have in the US but other decidedly not.  Here is a rundown of the 4 I chose for the ballot.

Favorite – Pinipig polvoron, a crisped sticky rice short bread cookie. It had a bit of dairy flavor and an interesting texture.  It was a nice solid cookie when removed from the package but as soon as I bit it the piece in my mouth lost all cohesion and turned into a silky powder with lumps of the crispy rice surfing through to be crunched between teeth.  It was an odd but pleasant textural touch. It was sweet but not overly so and in spite of the simpleness of it I liked this one a lot.

Runner up – Potato Fries Ketchup Flavor.  I was surprised at this coming in as #2 since ketchup is like my #3 condiment.  These were french fry shaped potato products that was light and had a snappy crunch along with a real, albeit slight, potato taste. And as much as I’m not a fan of tomato barbecue powder flavors this ketchup flavor was really good. It had a distinctive tomato taste with sweetness and a little tang you expect from ketchup.

Worst – Mr Mais chewy candy.  This little nugget was perhaps the closest to gag inducing of anything in the box, including the box. The candy is “chewy sweet corn” with a “butter” filling. Wow, it tasted like semi hardened corn syrup and then when chewed the artificial butter flavor spilled out like some noxious leak from a barrel of rancid butter wannabe.  It wasn’t tasty is what I’m saying.

Most Unusual – Mr Keso, another of the chewy candies.  I actually expected this one to be the nastiest of the lot but surprisingly it was not as you know from the previous award winner. The chewy outer had a mild sweet cheese flavor that wasn’t too bad and then the liquid hits with a much stronger cheesy flavor. Now this was not a real natural cheese flavor but more like a liquid version of the cheese “sauce” from boxed mac & cheese. Not exactly something I’m itching to try again but not the worst.  Oh and notice what they did with the names of the chewy candies?

I did get introduced to two new flavors, pandan & ube which added color as well, green & purple respectively.  In the snacks their flavors were much more subtle than the artificial colors that accompanied them so I truly don’t know if I could pick them out if I tasted them again.  For the interested pandan is a green plant that is apparently popular in southeast Asian circles and ube is a purple yam.

Overall the box was a fun, filling, educational romp through another culture’s snacks and I can’t wait until June’s box of Brazilian (I cracked that coded hint) snacks arrives.