Last week I was shopping for American snacks at a British/American expat store, because regardless of who became president, the inauguration was an excellent excuse to splurge on import-priced Reese’s peanut butter cups and Pop-Tarts.
There was a €6+ box of Twinkies that I considered buying for a second. Then I remembered my disappointment when I tried them for the first time years ago after Hostess filed for bankruptcy and Americans went apeshit over the loss of their beloved Twinkie. Sorry Americans, but Twinkies really don’t taste that good.
Twinkies are a prime example of nostalgic food: Americans were upset when the Twinkie was on the verge of extinction because the sweet and artificial cream-filled sponge cake is an icon of American childhood. It made me wonder what my nostalgic foods are, in particular the foods that I wouldn’t have liked (as much) if I hadn’t grown up eating them.
Conclusion: Asian childhood snacks.
Haw flakes are small, sweet discs made of Chinese hawthorn. They can be found very cheaply at any Chinese supermarket. The taste and structure of these sweets are unlike anything else I’ve had and I’m not sure if most people would like these or not. The paper tends to stick to the sweets a little, but the veteran haw flakes eater is not afraid of eating a bit of paper. Wikipedia manages to make haw flakes sound especially unappetising and even unsafe, but I still like them.
Chinese century egg
This monstrosity is a Chinese century egg that we’ve taste tested right here. It looks like rot, smells like ammonia and tastes like eggy old socks, and I like these – albeit sparingly – in congee (rice porridge). You can find these in any Chinese supermarket as well, usually called either century eggs or thousand year eggs. Try it, I dare you.
I LOVE THESE. Sachima are small, fluffy, sticky pastries that are a little chewy and crunchy and soft at the same time. Again, you can buy these at any Chinese supermarket. They’re very lightly sweet and they’re often sprinkled with sesame seeds, though I prefer the plain ones. Even though most people would think these are just alright, they’re one of my favourite foods in the world. Good memories, I suppose: sachima is my Twinkie.
What food brings you back to your childhood?