I love staring at the mountains of produce and strolling through the chilly freezer aisle; I even like to peek into people’s carts to try to guess what they’re making. Where else do you see so much food all at once?
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Even when my fridge is already too full, I’ll find some excuse to wander the aisles. The best is the international aisle, which contains all the unfamiliar stuff—from the mango chutney to the seaweed crackers. This section is also full of all the good snacks, and while they are no healthier than American junk food, their exotic flavors makes them seem like they are. Some of them definitely have an acquired taste (durian candy, anyone?) but others deserve a spot in your cart. Here are five of my favorite snacks from the far reaches of the globe:
1. Happy Hippo (Italy) This cute wafer hippo is stuffed with chocolate cream, dunked in meringue frosting, and then covered in sprinkles. It will satisfy any sugar fantasy and make you feel about five years old.
2. Plantain Chips (Mexico) There’s no better junk food than chips. While tortilla and potato versions dominate, plantain chips are slightly sweet, salty, and extra crunchy. Not surprisingly, they're perfect for guacamole and salsa.
3. Bamba (Israel) Imagine that cheese puffs and peanut butter had a love child, and you would get Bamba. (Yes, they are as good as they sound.) These puffs of popped corn are coated in peanut butter dust, making them incredibly addictive. They’re slightly sweet but also salty and pretty perfect when you arrive home a little too late or a little too tipsy.
4. Hello Panda (Japan) Most cute foods look better than they taste, but not panda biscuits. These adorable cookies are stamped with pandas and are filled with sweet chocolate (more chocolate than your average cookie, which is always a bonus). They are also tiny, so you can eat a lot of them in one sitting—which I'm pretty sure is a good thing.
5. Bombay Mix (India) This stuff is designed to satisfy—it’s crunchy, spicy, salty, and sweet. What more could you want in a snack? There are dozens of variations that can contain nuts, spices, dried lentils, puffed rice, and even raisins. Eat it while drinking a very cold beer.
What's your favorite flavor for an off-the-wall snack? Tell us in the comments below!