Taste of the World: Snacks from Around the World

Chaehyun Lee, Backpage Editor

Trick or treat! People love Halloween and the bagful of free candies they get after ringing dozens of doorbells. Halloween is an annual holiday that everyone looks forward to. Hershey’s, Twix, Skittles, candy corn and Milky Way are some of the most popular snacks in America. 

Some snacks are universal, like chocolate, chips, gummy bears, and popcorn. However, most countries have their own unique snacks. 

            As a student who recently moved from South Korea, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities and differences of snacks between Asian and Western  countries. 

Snacks first became popular in Korea in 1945, when the company HaiTai produced a jelly-like snack called Yang Gang, which is a jelly dessert made from bean paste. 

After that, Nongshim, Orion and Crown dominated the snack market through catchy commercial songs and creative advertising. Nowadays, there are thousands of different snacks in South Korea, including some imported snacks from China, Japan, North America and Europe. 

One major difference between most Asian and American sweets is the wide variety of flavors. 

Jiyu Park, a Korean student at CheongShim International Academy (CSIA) said, “Asian snacks definitely have more variety. Other than crackers, chocolates, or just normal snacks like nachos, Asian snacks can actually be a meal. For example, Tteokbokki, or stir-fried rice cakes, is a popular snack menu item for many students and even some adults in Korea. Japanese Ramen is certainly a national snack that everyone loves. Also, most Asian snacks have more salty or spicy flavor, while American snacks are mostly based on chocolate.”

            Compared to Asian snacks, North American and European snacks are based more on baked goods or wheat and potato rather than rice. They also use more chocolate and sweet fillings. 

Some of the most popular European snacks include LU cookies from France, which are made of a silky milk chocolate with a cookie base. 

 Knoppers from Germany is a filled wafer slice with milk cream filling and chocolate. 

Carys Holland, a freshman who recently moved from England to  Minnetonka High school said, “For me, I personally enjoy Walker’s Chilli crisp sensations and Butterkist popcorn as well as Cadbury’s chocolate buttons. They are pretty popular in England. I think the  chocolate is more milky and nice but mostly the rest of the snacks have similar taste. I guess it’s just British brands.”

Johnny Dang, a chef at the China Restaurant said, “I think that most Asian snacks tend to be healthier, as there is less deep-fried items and don’t contain as much sugar. In America, there are 

a lot more deep-fried snacks like chips and sweet snacks like candies and cookies, so it isn’t as healthy.”

Seafood is also an extremely important part of Asian cuisine, unlike the typical Midwestern palate. Many South Korean and Japanese snacks use seafood flavorings in their foods like squid, seaweed, and shrimp.

Chloe Riger, a sophomore at Minnetonka High school, tried a shrimp cracker from South Korea and stated, “I think American snacks are more processed. They probably use more sugar and chemicals too.”

             Even with the 14-hour time difference between the east and the west hemispheres, the snacks have both differences and similarities. Despite different flavors and textures in snack preferences, we all enjoy eating snacks.