Forgetready-salted chips and vanilla cream biscuits. As huge foodies and reasonable connoisseursof strange gastronomic experiences, we always pursue the locally-producedsnacks that sometimes offer local flavours, or combinations that may not becommon in the west.
While there aredefinitely a tonne of delicious Vietnamese snacks out there, of course we had todocument the ones we found different! We hope not to offend anyone – simply,many of these flavours are just not something we’d ever find at home, and onoccasion it means that we aren’t accustomed to it. Of course, in choosing themost outlandish snacks, there are bound to be a couple that may not agree withus, but we would still encourage people to give any of them a go.
From the Video
Cosy BánhQuế Cheese Wafer Rolls
Fake cheese isits own unique flavour, one that is incomparable to any real cheese to speakof. Cosy is in a category on its own, with a different sort of fake cheese thatwas indescribable to say the least. We regret everything about this one. Weneed say nothing more.
Ever comeacross one of those things that compels you so strongly to satiate yourcuriosity even if it means experiencing a little hardship? This was certainlyone of those things. All throughout Vietnam we noticed that corn was as normalof a sweet flavour as red bean or mung bean, which unsurprisingly is a littleunusual for people who have only considered it as a vegetable growing up.
To put simply,it tastes like the sweetcorn, or the water used to boil the corn, only much,much stronger. It’s unusual, to say the least. Some may find it strange, but itis a very popular drink. We didn’t regret trying it, but it wasn’t too much toour liking.
Vinamilk AloeVera Yoghurt (Nha ĐamSữa Chua)
Aloe Vera issuch a big part of so many Asian children’s childhoods. The sweet, refreshingdrink with a suspension of little morsels was a travesty to the supposedbenefits when applied to skin and hair but it sure was a treat to youngerTwinspeak. Nonetheless, as we grow older we feel obliged to wane ourselves offthose childish sweets and enjoy more sophisticated desserts.
Cue aloe verayoghurt. Lightly sweetened from cubes bursting with aloe accompanied by theslight tang of highly-processed fermented milk… this was a dessert we neverknew we needed. We later found out that it’s a common dish in Vietnam andenjoyed throughout many dessert establishments, but at the very least, thesupermarket version was plenty satisfying. No regrets there.
Coca Cola Coffee
Wow, what awild concept. We bought this without having a clue what to expect, and ittasted exactly as you’d think. A mix of coffee and cola. Though not asdistinctly as a half-half mixture of each than if you’d left a little coffee inyour cup and poured some cola over it forgetting that it was coffee because thecolours are essentially the same. Or if you’d taken the stirring teaspoon outof someone’s espresso to take a sip of someone’s cola. In either case, it isstill very predominantly cola. This is very much a drink for people who can’tget enough caffeine drinking just one of the two.
Orange flavoured milk
Interestingly,flavourings such as strawberry added to foods have different chemicalcompositions for products with fat (such as milks) and for products without (suchas boiled sweets or lollipops). Which is why it was such a strange concept tosee orange-flavoured milks and yoghurts lining the shelves of Vietnamesegrocers, even if lemon is such a normal flavour for creamy desserts. Orangejust isn’t something we associated with milk, which was why we had to give it ago.
It was stillstrange when we drank it. The best description we could find was if youcombined milk with an orange-flavoured cordial. It wasn’t bad, so to speak.We’d never get it again, though.
Green Pea flavoured milk
What compels usto buy things with flavours that no one would buy otherwise? Curiosity, that’swhat. And literally nothing else. Also, we are a little weird, and I think thatshould be respected. Especially because we had three options for this brand,and green pea was by far the weirdest sounding.
The flavour wasbizarre. There were aspects of non-dairy creamer and the typical legume-ishflavour that one might find in red bean or green bean-flavoured things, thoughit also came with such a strange and sudden surface bitterness that it becamevery unpleasant very fast. There were so many regrets with this one. But hey,at least now we all know.
Oishi Snack BắpNgọt Sweetcorn Flavoured Puffs
We suppose thatthis is meant to be a health snack, what with the corn and the claim that it isn’tfried (khôngchiên), but let’s be honest. It’s a processed snack. Much like your typicalpuffed corn snack this had a light, airy crisp. But again, not much flavour tospeak of besides the generic MSG-salt-sugar-ambiguous-seasoning combination.Sure, there was corn. But if it’s sweetcorn flavour, we want it like Nabati’sSiip snacks: overtly processed the hell out of. Other than the lack of flavour,it was certainly a waste of calories.
Salted Egg Pork Floss Cake
This is a cakethat we found rampant in many bakeries and supermarkets throughout Vietnam,which surprised us as it’s not a common pairing with sweet foods, or at leastthat we’d experienced, in Malaysia, Singapore, or Indonesia. As a fan of cake,salted egg, and pork floss, we jumped on the chance to try a little cupcakefrom a roadside bakery.
Predominantlysweet in flavour, it was missing the savoury that we’d expected from twonormally meaty products. It had the fluffy consistency of a steamed cake with afaint coconut flavour, but the lacking salted egg and pork floss made it alittle dissatisfactory. Nonetheless, delicious.
Laughing Cow Cheez Dippers Pizza FlavouredBreadsticks
One of Noms’sguilty pleasures is Laughing Cow cheese, so seeing it in breadstick-and-dipform was basically a no-brainer. We went for pizza-flavoured assuming it wasthe cheese that was flavoured, because who reads fine print, right? Alas, itwas the breadsticks which had a slight tomato taste, but who’s all thatbothered when you’ve got good old Laughing Cow cheese? It’s cheese and crackersfor our simple souls. If we conveniently forget that Jos is lactose intolerant,the only thing we can weep over is that there was no pizza flavour to speak of.Noms licked that packet clean to get every morsel of that delicious, deliciouscheese.
MộcChâu Milk Coconut Flavoured Milk
Rather thancoconut milk, it’s cow’s milk with coconut flavouring. Thankfully, it’ssweetened. The coconut flavour also seemed to be boosted a little artificially,which definitely aided with the flavour. This one is not bad at all.
TH True Nut Milk Hạtvà Gấc (Oat and Gấc Fruit) Flavour
Gấc is afruit found in Southeast Asia as well as Northern Australia. It wasn’t anythingwe’d tried before, which meant it was something we definitely had to try. But,we found as we sipped it that maybe an unsweetened health drink was perhaps notthe best way to go – it had a thick consistency which did not match well withthe blandness of the milk. Maybe it’s something we need to get used to, likeunsweetened almond milk, but we couldn’t stomach it all that well.
The Ones ThatDidn’t Make It to Filming
JOJO Khoai Lang TímSweet Potato Chips
These werelight and crispy, the sort of texture that you’d find in a puffed corn or ricesnack, though in a flatter netted structure. While it did have a whiff of sweetpotato flavour, it was then overridden by the familiar taste of MSG and othergeneric seasonings. We regret that it didn’t taste as much of sweet potato aswe expected.
TaYO X Salted Egg Chips
There’ssomething about Vietnam and not quite nailing the flavouring thing on the head.Despite a solid selection of snacks, we’ve found them all, including theobscurely-flavoured, to be so mild that it’s pretty much acceptable even if youhave the blandest of palates. TaYO was another case of this: much like anyother flute-shaped, puffed-flour snacks, this had some sweetness and somesaltiness, though absolutely no salted egg flavour. In fact, this would havebeen better described as honey. It didn’t taste bad, per se, but it wasdisappointing in terms of the supposed flavour.
YenViet Bird’s Nest Rock Sugar Aloe Vera
Bird’s nestdrinks can be expensive, and maybe having it combined with rock sugar and aloewas not the best way to identify the bird’s nest flavour if you’ve never had itbefore. We hadn’t. In either case, it was a sweet drink that had a vagueindescribable flavour that we put to the rock sugar. The aloe was delicious. Itwasn’t a bad drink, though perhaps a little spendy.
Sweetened fresh milk
Ever boughtsomething to eat expecting nothing out of the ordinary and being punched in theface because you’d accidently grabbed the wrong flavour? This was exactly that.Noms wanted milk. We saw a white box coloured with a little blue and green, anda nice little cow. We bought it, and took a sip – and found out it wassweetened.
This mightsound okay to some, but milk is most definitely not that flavour if you pour itstraight from your usual UHT cartons. This one tasted a little of vanilla too,like the dregs left after you’ve consumed a bowl of sugary cereal, or if someonehad dunked a good few biscuits in there before putting the glass back in thefridge for us to happen across. It wasn’t bad. But maybe we should have readthe English on the package before.
Vietnam’snormal snack selection is significantly more delicious than the weirdestflavours we dredged up, but we did learn a lesson. You can never tell which onewill taste good just by the packaging. Don’t be afraid to try new flavours,because we had loads of fun eating them!