Strange Crisps and Jerky of the Sea

One of the most exciting things about travelling is the opportunity to sample local cuisines and unusual delicacies. We’ve written before about some of the weird food traditions around the world, but what about everyday snacks?

These are some of the strangest (from a UK perspective) quick and easy snacks you can easily find on shop shelves in other countries.

Exotic crisp flavours, China

Lay's crisps China

Nowhere does unusual crisp flavours like China. Lay’s (what the rest of the world calls Walkers) offers Numb & Spicy Hot Pot flavour, Hot & Sour Fish flavour and, perhaps weirdest of all, Cheese Lobster Flavour. We might just stick to Ready Salted, for now.

In Ireland, Tayto offers a chocolate bar studded with pieces of their famous Cheese & Onion flavoured crisps. They really will put potatoes in anything.

Dried Squid, South Korea

Dried shredded squid, Korea

You might feel conflicted when glancing along a snack shelf in a South Korean shop. There’ll be plenty of familiar western treats, alongside appealing national favourites like Choco Pies.

Right next to them you’ll find the likes of Dried Shredded Squid, ready to be eaten straight from the bag. Think of it like jerky of the sea, chewy and naturally salty. You can even buy it unshredded. 

Or just eat a Choco Pie instead.

Kit Kats, Japan

Japanese Kit Kats

Kit Kats are a chocolate staple, a mainstay of the lunchbox (two-finger) and a comforting afternoon snack (four-finger). The occasional special edition adds something tame and familiar, like caramel or mint. Lovely.

Not so in Japan. Kit Kats here are barely recognisable. There are fruit and vegetable flavours: pear, purple sweet potato, hot Japanese chilli, and more. You can also sample wasabi flavour and red bean sandwich flavour, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.

At least some of them sound pretty tasty. We’d give cinnamon cookie or strawberry cheese cake a go.

Candied Crabs, Japan

Candied Crabs, Japan

We’re staying in Japan for what are literally bags of tiny crabs coated in a sticky, sugary glaze. Eyes, claws, and shell are all still attached! Bargain.

The inherent saltiness of the crabs combined with the glaze has made them a popular drinking snack in Japan. We’d certainly need something strong to help wash them down.

Sandwich in a Can, USA

Sandwich in a Can, USA

It’s not all about Asia. We think of American snack foods as fairly standard (if particularly indulgent), but their pursuit of convenient tastiness sometimes leads them down a dark path.

At the end of that path is Candwich – a sandwich in a can. A hunk of cheap bread and filling shoved into a metal can like medical waste. Flavours offered are Peanut Butter & Jelly (Grape or Strawberry) and BBQ Chicken.

The empty can also serves as a convenient vomit receptacle.