Nabisco? Hostess? Please, it’s all about Lotte, Glico and Calbee.
Growing up Asian-American, it was always hard not to feel just a little bit different from your peers, especially at lunchtime. While your classmates were knocking back Capri Suns and Dunkaroos, you’d be stuck drinking probiotic Yakult and eating Hello Panda crackers. But that’s okay, because trips to the Asian grocery store with your parents usually meant stopping by the toy counters out front and picking up the newest holographic Pokemon cards, which were always loads cooler than anything you’d find in a Cracker Jack box.
With that in mind, here’s a list of the top 16 Things That Taste Just Like Your Asian American Childhood. Mmm, just like mom used to pack.
1. Pocky, Yan Yan, Hello Panda
Never underestimate the simple joy of crunchy bread dipped in chocolate cream. Also available in Strawberry.
Picthx Asian Food Grocer
2. Lychee Jelly
These always came in giant buckets, but for some reason there were never enough. WHY WERE THERE NEVER ENOUGH?
Picthx Viet Wah
3. Shrimp-Flavored Chips
The Asian equivalent of gum (i.e., once you opened a pack, you could pretty much say goodbye to it forever).
(Notable mention: Snow Pea Crisps)
4. Calpico, Ramune
For some reason, Japanese sodas were never content just being one color or flavor, and for some reason, the Strawberry one was always the best.
Picthx Asian Food Grocer, Sand Village Farm
You had the inkling feeling this was supposed to be like liquid yogurt, but decided it was probably best not to ask too many questions.
Picthx Fechando O Ziper
6. Dry Ramen Packets
When you have built in crunchy noodles and built in seasoning, who needs chips? (Serving suggestion: crushed and shaken up in a zip-lock bag.)
7. Haw Flakes
Admittedly these ones tasted kinda funny and you only ate them because your dad gave them to you, but at least tearing open the packs was always fun. Plus they kinda looked like fireworks.
Picthx Nummy Nims
8. Dry Seaweed
Perfect with or without rice.
Picthx Nourishing Meals
9. Tamarind and Coffee-Flavored Candies
Also available at most Asian restaurants (with the check, of course).
Picthx World of Snacks
10. White Rabbit
Two words: Edible. Paper.
Picthx Cafe Zupas
Admit it, you felt kinda cool when all your American friends started asking you to take them to get “bubble tea.”
Picthx Tasting Tampa
12. Rice-Seaweed Crackers, Wasabi Peas, Nagaraya Crackers
Picthx Hibiki, Nut Stop, Food Recap
Just like harder, chewier Starburst, except they also came in Melon and Mango, aka possibly the best Asian-inspired flavors ever.
Picthx David Wong
14. Asian Ice Pops
Hands down, 1 million times better than Otter Pops, just because they were a million times easier to open. Oh, snap.
Picthx Asian Food Grocer, Please Let It Be Friday
15. Orion Choco Pie
Picthx Old Delhi Mart
16. Pork Sung
Lastly, pork sung, which, despite all appearances, is really not hair. Really.
Picthx E Food Depot
Leader Image: Jordan Plenzich, Flickr