Asian snack food
Someone was looking in Manhattan for haw flakes and another poster responded about a few local Hong Kong snack shops ...
"Hong Kong snack shop Aji Ichiban in Chinatown sells an enormous variety of haw snacks. They have little bowls of the snacks so you can taste before you buy ... "
"As well as haw snacks, Aji Ichiban has various plum and sweet olive based snacks, all of them somewhat perplexing to my Western tastebuds although a friend of mine loves these plums which look as if they are coated in hay but actually it is tiny bits of licorice. The taste is dissonant yet makes you crave more."
That sounds interesting ... especially the part about being able to do taste tests.
I don't think we have anything like that in SF that allows tasting, so I'm looking for suggestions on what might be good in Asian markets.
About the only thing I've tried are dried plums. Anything else that would be interesting to look for and try?
P.S. I'd also appreciate links to any snack topics anyone might remember. I swear I've read Asian snack topics, but search wasn't turning up anything.
There is an Aji Ichiban in Cupertino Village if you're looking for one in the SF area. However, Aji Ichiban isn't the best place for Chinese candies and snacks (both in Hong Kong and the SF bay area) as the stuff they have tends to be overpriced and/or lower quality.
There's an Aji Ichiban in SF Chinatown, at 905 Grant Avenue, but I don't know if they give free samples. (NOTE: It's recognizable as "Munchies Paradise" but it's the same operation, known as Aji Ichiban Munchie's Paradise.) There also was, and may still be, an Aji Ichiban on Kearny St. near Chinatown, too.
I love the red ginger (it's hot & salty)
The preserved plums come in so many variations. My favs are the soft black seedless ones that are sometimes sold individually wrapped, and the super-salty/sour dried ones (my mouth is watering just thinking about them).
The boiled peanutes are good too.
I also like the salty plum pellets (look for small rabbit droppings) they are sometimes sold in a vial.
And I like the agar candies that are wrapped in rice cellophane.
Oh, and one more . . . the preserved lemons.
Dried squid, sometimes seasoned with sugar and soy, is fun to pull apart into thin fibrous strands and chew chew chew. A little bit satisfies a hunger need.
I used to love haw chips and those sweet plum packages in the white paper wrappings when I was a kid, but lost all interest in all the overly sweet stuff now. At Hawaii people loved the le hing mui flavoring, which is how some of the plums are flavored. I am too sensitive to sourness to like it.
I tend to go for the slightly sweet but savory snacks like the above mentioned squid/cuttlefish strands, jerkies, or better yet the seasoned tofu snacks. I am also partial to the shrimp chips (my coworkers called them fish baits).