Sometimes my snacking can spiral out of control, especially in a country where the people LOVE their snacks (and their 7-11s). Last week I got to share the company of my good Richmond friend Jeesh, who was on a short holiday from teaching discipline and English to Kuwaiti children. The ensuing shenanigans are cause for a blog post and he gets to be my esteemed guest snacker.

This story begins after dinner. On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped at a bar advertising mojitos on special. Things began innocently enough. We sat at a table occupied by a connect four game. Drinks were ordered. Jeesh decided to push the boundaries of decorum that had started the night. He suggested that the loser of connect four should do a shot. Being a regular and constant loser of board games, I politely declined but suggested we play just for fun. It took about one minute for me to win the game and I got a bit cocksure with my connect four skills, so I conceded that indeed, we SHOULD have the loser-does-a-shot rule. Quickly I won another three games and demanded Jeesh take his penalty. At the fourth game, my attention got diverted somehow and Jeesh triumphantly won for the first time. My turn for a shot. Things went like this for the better part of an hour with Jeesh winning about one out of every four games we played. It didn’t take long for our tab and our inebriation to increase.

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Jeesh took this photo near the end of our most dangerous game.

After getting sharked at connect four by some ten year old flower hawkers, we decided to make a move back to the hotel, stopping off at 7-11 for snacks along the way. If you have ever been to Thailand, you know that 7-11s here are more ubiquitous than Starbucks in Seattle. We easily found our store of convenience, a mere block from our hotel, and once inside chose package upon foil wrapped package of unidentifiable snacks.

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You could say we were like kids in a candy store.

Back at the hotel, we made ourselves a nightcap before diving into the eclectic collection of mystery foods.

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Jeesh is excited to begin. He cleanses his palate with a swig of vodka/sprite. He declares this a blind taste test, so he closes his eyes for the duration of the experiment.

I can’t read most of the packages, but some have one or two English words on them for identification.

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“Japanese Curry Flavored”

Jeesh: (feeling and smelling first snack) “It feels sandy. Smells like sea salt and soy sauce.”
(Takes bite) “It tastes like DEET. DEET gives it a kick. It’s fishy but nice, I enjoyed that one.”

Me: “Smells like curry. Tastes like a curry chip. Meh.”

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“Bun Bun Original Flavored Green Pea Snack”

J: “They’re freakishly long! Feels like Cap’n Crunch, end to end. If you could make a corn puff tasteless, that’s what it was. Like eating a packing peanut. Everything about it was fake. Conclusion: Illusion!”

M: “It’s shaped like a pod of peas. Tastes like eating puffy bean sprouts without the fiber or moisture. Slightly sweet. Tasty.”

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“Cuttlefish Crackers”

J: “Whoa! What’s up, Banshee!? Feels like a thick corn husk.”
(Sniffs) “Smells like soy sauce varnish. Honey sweet. It tastes like cereal with an Asian twist. Conclusion: Savor the Flavor.”

M: “Smells like my cat after he eats wet food. Very sweet. Kind of a pork rind texture covered in molasses. Not fishy at all. Oh, it’s only 10% cuttlefish.”

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“ATORI Supertasty Biscuits Stick”

J: “Feels like pretzel sticks, smells like crabs! Chalky and bready like pizza crust without sauce. Not much flavor. Eh.”

M: “Slightly sticky sticks. Sweet and biscuity. The name says it all.

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“Calbee Slim”

J: “Long and tubular.
(Sniffs. Sniffs again. Cocks head and contemplates.)
“Smells like Golden Grahams? Tastes like Cheetos without the frills or bulk. Like Cheetos of Christmas’s past. No one wants to remember them. Conclusion: Ethereal”

M: “Yeah, like airy Cheetos, or a Long John Silver’s fish platter. OH! Fried clams!”

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“Taro: BBQ Flavor”

J: “Stick shaped ones again. Whoa! Hold on, they bend. This is unsettling from a texture perspective.
(Smells it hesitantly. Sighs. Smells again. Third sniff.)
“Smells like processed seafood that came out of a can. Unhappiness plus two. I don’t wanna eat this. What food bends?! AUGH! It tastes like cardboard dog dick! I can’t do it. I’m not doing it.”
(Spits out)
“Consistency of insulation, tastes like regret. Conclusion: Sorrow”

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M: (Giggling)
“It tastes like BBQ fish wiener bubble gum. YUCK.”

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“Fried Curry Crab Flavor”

J: “These bend in a harmless way. Like homemade paper. Smells like sea vegetables? Like veggies put underwater for a long time. Tastes like seaweed with MSG. Exploding with seaweed flavor. Conclusion: Seaweed.”

M: “Yep, flat sheets of seaweed paper. Sweet and salty. Not bad, but not good.”

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“Pretz Bread Stick: Corn Flavor”

J: “Hard, long, tubular. Like me? Hah. Smells like maple syrup or molasses. Mhmm, pretzel dipped in molasses with an aftertaste of evaporated milk. Super dry. Makes me want to drink a lake. Conclusion: Molasses Sahara.”

M: “Hah hah. Actually, it tastes exactly like what it says it is. Buttered corn. Lightly sweetened and a little salty.

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“Kameda Brand OKOME-Teriyaki Fish”

M: “OK, last one!”

J: “Triangular! That’s new – I’m hopeful. Hmm. Smells like pork. Tastes like…you know when you get the popcorn in a tin separated into three flavors? It’s a rice cake with pork flavor. Conclusion:”
(A moment of drunken contemplation)
“Intriguing”
(Yawns, then gulps the remaining sip of booze)

M: “Like a honey BBQ salmon rice cake. Not bad”

J: “Are we done? Can I go to bed now?”

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And there you have it. An honest review of some popular Thai prepackaged 7-11 snack foods. Which would you try?

(Photo credit for the first three pictures goes to Jeesh Crest. Thanks for all your help, friend!)

2 Responses to “Southeast Asian 7-11 Mystery Snacks”

  1. Christina
    4 May 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    HILARIOUS!!!! It sounds like you guys had fun 🙂 great post!

  2. Jen
    3 May 2014 at 9:39 am #

    This was so funny that my eyes leaked!