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.

Taiwanese Yum


Image result for taiwan passport stamp

This months Yum box was loaded with snacks from the island of Taiwan.

There were 13 different snacks in this month’s box.  Most I enjoyed and one not so much and it will be discussed in a bit.  Staying with the plan to showcase the top 2 favorites, the most unusual and the worst here’s my favorite of the box.

Basil flavored pea crackers.  That’s right, you read me, crackers made from peas.  I was skeptical when I opened the pack but was converted on the first bite of these spiral shaped crackers.  The first thing I noticed was these crackers had an awesome crunch.  It was harder than most corn or wheat based crackers I’ve had in the past and I liked it.  The next thing was the basil flavor, which was by far the dominant flavor and it tasted fresh, not artificial.  This was also the largest snack by volume too so double win.  The second favorite snack was a little smokey plum hard candy.

The smokey plum is on the right.  The other two candies were chewy but this little number was hard as your grandma’s Christmas candy.  I popped this in my mouth and man did it have the smokey part down pat.  There was a wood smoke flavor that I’m sure a true smoke connoisseur could have identified but to me it was like inhaling over a random camp fire, in a good way.  After a bit the smoke dissipated and the sugary plum flavor started to come through and shortly after that because I have the patience of a gnat I chewed it up so I don’t know if the flavor would have changed again as it dissolved.  Now on to what I thought was the most unusual.

Here we have the Taiwanese Choco Ball which I expected to be my favorite out of box based on the picture and ingredients.  I mean chocolate and peanut butter?  We’re in Reese’s territory here and I love that combo.  Well things didn’t turn out quite like I thought.  The thin chocolate exterior was not bad even though the chocolate wasn’t as sweet as I’m used to and wasn’t bitter enough to be cool like dark chocolate.  Then I got to the mochi which had a consistency between a gummy worm and that green slime you played with as a kid.  Not a lot of taste but it certainly contributed to an interesting mouth feel.  Now I’m down to the peanut buttery layer and it was also not as sweet as the peanut butter I’m used to and certainly not as sweet as that used in confections.  That’s not a bad thing but it didn’t meet expectations so there was an initial let down.  The interesting part was, taken individually the components were kind of disappointing but if you chunked a whole one in your mouth and didn’t spend too much time chewing it over the flavors went pretty well together, unlike the next snack.

Here we have the taro flavored wafer bar.  It was the only snack I disliked outright.  The wafer is a standard plain cardboard like example of it’s genre.  It was crispy and fragile with a thin layer of semisweet taro paste sandwiched in.  If you’ve never had taro it’s the same stuff they make poi from and if you’ve never had poi it’s like kindergarten paste without the great flavor.  You may have discerned I’m not a taro fan and this was even worse because as thin as the layer of filling was it still managed to leave a greasy taste in my mouth.  So no, just no to the taro wafer.

Although I’m not going to talk about them I will mention the other snacks in the box.

Black sesame cake, brown sugar lotus cake, pepper crackers, french fry snacks, seaweed corn bar, spicy scallion stick, red bean milk candy, black sesame milk candy and bubble tea popcorn.

I do want to give the bubble tea popcorn an honorable mention even though I don’t have a picture to share.  The popcorn still had a freshness to it and the sweet glaze had the taste of green tea and tapioca plus there were bits of black tea leaves on the popcorn as well.  The tea leaves weren’t enough to overpower the bubble tea flavor but did enhance the tea part.

OK and since I’ve never found a restaurant that claimed to be Taiwanese I’m adding the Tell Me More page for Taiwan to this post.  Check it out for a recipe video, music video, random fact and some shopping opportunities.

Based on the clues it looks like next month’s Yum box will be loaded with English treats.  Fingers crossed for some bangers & mash crisps.