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Unusual Snacks

  • k

I wasn't quite sure where to post this, but I'm hoping
I can get some good ideas. I'm looking for some great
suggestions for packaged snacks. Not potato chips,
pretzels, and peanuts, but tasty, unusual munchies.
I'm thinking along the lines of wasabi peas, veggie
booty, even beef jerky (my personal favorite). Does
anyone have any ideas?

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  1. k
    keith koenigsberg

    For starters I would go to these two places and peruse
    racks and racks of exotic delicacies:

    1-Any one of several Chinese supergroceries,(Kam Mam on
    Canal Street, near Mulberry, comes to mind. There is
    another good one on Mott, about 3 doors up from Chatham
    Square) where you will find all things dessicated,
    fried, and salty in portable packages. In fact, the
    packages are often more interesting than the products
    (creative use of English, etc.)

    2-Similar Japanese grocers (Sunrise Market on the
    corner of 3rd ave and Stuyvesant comes to mind, though
    I hear there is a truly miraculous one out in
    (Edgewater?) New Jersey). I love the tiny dried fish
    they sell. So pungent!

    4 Replies
    1. re: keith koenigsberg

      Yaohan, the enormous Japanese supermarket in Edgewater
      that Keith is talking about (and is mentioned lots of
      times across these boards), has a whole aisle of salty
      dried fishy things, including bags of whole spiced
      dried crabs about the size of a ritz cracker, and a
      mixed dry seafood product that includes those crabs,
      dry cuttlefish, squid, shrimp, those little anchovies,
      clams, and all sorts of small swimmy creatures.

      Also other salty snacky things like shrimp crackers,
      green pea crackers (like shrimp crackers but made of
      peas), clam jerky, many varieties of mixed
      rice-cracker/nori cocktail munchies, etc.

      1. re: MU

        Depending on where you're living, I would suggest
        either Kam Man on Canal St. in Manhattan, or Sahadi's
        on Atlantic Ave. in B'klyn. Kam Man has all the spicy
        peas and shrimp chips and tons of other, beautifully
        packaged stuff. You can even buy uncooked shrimp
        chips, heat up some oil, and watch them bubble to
        the surface in all their crispy glory. Both stores
        have peanuts in a spicy cracker shell that are truly
        addictive. Sahadi's also has tons of seeds and snack
        mixes, probably at lower prices because you can buy in
        bulk. And a nice little plate of olives from there
        couldn't hurt...

        1. re: Mara

          This requires a very little work, but is worth it.
          Take pork rinds (I use the plain packaged kind), and
          in the curve of each, place an anchovy rolled with a
          caper. Electric -- I can feel the shivers down my
          spine as I write about it. Good with beer, wine,
          sherry, even chocolate milk.

          It might also be good with the fresh chicharron you
          can get in some mexican groceries.

          Penelope Casas writes about it in her book on Tapas.
          It is apparently very popular in the bars of Salamanca.

      2. re: keith koenigsberg
        f
        Frank Language

        keith koenigsberg writes: "1-Any one of several Chinese
        supergroceries,(Kam Mam on Canal Street, near Mulberry,
        comes to mind. There is another good one on Mott, about
        3 doors up from Chatham Square) where you will find all
        things dessicated, fried, and salty in portable
        packages."

        That is Kam Kuo, where you can also get a rattan
        walking stick for $3.50. And yes, they also have a
        great selection of teas in tins.

        "In fact, the packages are often more interesting than
        the products (creative use of English, etc.)"

        Especially good are the Kasugai gummy candies
        (available at many places in New York, particularly
        Korean groceries); on the bag of pineapple gummy candy,
        for instance, they comepare the pineapple to a
        "Southern island king crowned in glory". That alone is
        worth the price of admission. Or they talk about the
        muscat (grape) gummy as being kissed by gentle breezes,
        as from "a graceful lady". Gotta love that Japanglish.

      3. I'm fond of the Indian mixed fried-noodle-and-legume
        snack usually sold as 'Hot Mix.' It generally has a
        couple of varieties of fried chickpea noodles, lentils,
        spices including cardamom, chile, and cumin seeds,
        raisins, and anything else the manufacturer sees fit to
        put in. Any store on Lex in the 20s should have it, or
        anywhere else people from South Asia hang out.

        1. I've always thought the idea of wasabi chips would be
          good. Maybe wasabi/shrimp crisps...

          I once had a crazy packaged snack from England:
          streaky bacon crisps. Bacon-flavored, deep fried
          crispy things. I want to be reborn as a cardiologist
          in England.

          Is this market research?

          1. Kate--
            not what you're looking for, I suppose, but this is as
            good a place as any to mention one of my obsessions du
            jour: low-fat Bugles. These are the only low fat snack
            that taste good to me. In fact, they're
            better...lighter and crisper. Of course, like just
            about everything I like, they're nearly impossible to
            find.

            Let's see, other than that I like the Asian crunchy pea
            snacks (not the ones with wasabi, though), and Indians
            make zillions of crunchy snack mixes, often dosed with
            spices you'd not expected (hit Kalustyan's or Foods of
            India on Lex for some).

            Corn Bran cereal is one of my faves with milk, but it's
            pretty good dry, too. Phillipine lemon (actually
            kalamasi) soy sauce makes for awesome dipping of veggie
            slices or anything else (even pencils would taste good
            dipped in the stuff). Find it at any good Filipino
            grocery (the one on first ave at 13th has it).

            All-time best late night video in pajamas snack (other
            than cereal) is pita stuffed with chunks of Armenian
            string cheese, the whole thing heated wicked hot in a
            broiler or toaster oven.

            Best snack for long lazy nights of conversation with
            friends: put some zatar (a middle eastern spice blend
            featuring sucmac, thyme, and sesame seeds--no room to
            go into detail here, but Syrian and Lebanese zatar have
            different flavors and colors and you should try both)
            in a flattish dish, pour some GOOD extra virgin olive
            oil in another dish, and people dip thick slices of
            warm good bread first in the oil then in the zatar.
            Accompany with Belgian beer. It's really good (keep
            most of the bread in the oven so there's always warm
            stuff to serve).

            I could go on...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jim Leff

              I realize that Manhattan is more convenient for most folks. However, for Indian snack mixes, I prefer to stock up at Rajbogh in Jackson Heights. Not a commercial endorsement -- it seems many folks here tend to end up in that area regularly anyway.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                pita is better stuffed with havarti, mmm... melty and
                delicious. My breakfast every morning until I was
                forced to learn the word cholesterol.

                1. re: Rachel Hope

                  "until I was forced to learn the word cholesterol."

                  Hey! We'll have none of that language in here, young
                  lady!