These Thai rice crackers are a cruncher’s dream come true.
When it comes to treats I’m more of a bag of potato chips guy than a box of chocolates guy. Savory snacks trump sweet ones especially if they’re crunchy. What can I say, I’m a cruncher. Thai treats often blur the lines between sweet and salty, combining fishy herbal notes and heat with sweet notes. (more…)
I consider myself lucky to procure the occasional green tea Kit Kat. It’s a Japanese variety of Nestle’s popular candy bar. And in that country Kit Kat are really, really popular. There are scores and scores of oddball flavors: cherry, blueberry cheesecake, brandy and orange, red bean and matcha shaved ice, maple, sports drink, and wasabi.
My good friend William shared some of that last flavor with me the other day. He brought back a box of minis from a recent trip to Japan. The package bears the familiar red-and-white logo and the slogan “Have a break, have a Kit Kat.” There all similarity ends, for one thing there’s the word “wasabi,” and a whole bunch of Japanese on the inside of the box, which extols wasabia japonica’s white flowers and talks about how it was first cultivated 400 years ago.
So how does it taste? Crunchy and creamy with just the slightest hint of wasabi. Wondering why Kit Kat are so popular in Japan? The candy’s name sounds like “kitto katsu,” an expression associated with good luck. I consider myself lucky to have tried the wasabi ones, and look forward to eventually getting to Japan to try others.
The Filipino affinity for crunchy pork crackling—whether in the offalpalooza that is sizzling sisig; sheets of crunchy lechon (suckling pig) skin; or chicharron bulaklak, flowers of pork fat—is legendary. This is perhaps best seen by the vast selection of pork crackling on offer at Filipino markets like Phil-Am Food Mart in Woodside’s Little Manila. The shop contains at least a half dozen varieties many in clear packaging bearing names like “Tito Al’s” and “Elena’s.” Sucker that I am for commercial junk food from other cultures I opted for a jaunty looking package of Chicharron Ni Mang Juan on a recent visit. It’s quite possibly the strangest Filipino chicharron I’ve ever had for one simple reason: It contains no pork whatsoever. (more…)
I love having guests on my food tours try po cha—the salty Tibetan butter tea—served throughout Himalayan (aka Jackson) Heights. I like the stuff particularly on a cold winter—or spring—day. Not everyone’s a fan, though. Andrew Zimmern hated butter tea when I introduced him to it. (more…)
Nothing quite says disaster preparedness like a visit to Chipotle.
Winter storm Juno nee Snowmageddon/Blizzard of 2015 sparked all sorts of irrational behavior in New York City. Declaration of martial law, oops I mean subway closure and a driving ban; a hipstervore kale crisis; even a Craigslist bonanza of potential blizzard booty calls. Over in Brooklyn some poor soul jumped out a third-story window with barely a foot of snow on the ground to break his fall. Here in Queens, I got in on the snowmageddon madness by visiting Chipotle Mexican Grill. (more…)
“Do you have the new croissant donut?” I asked the gent at my local Dunkin’ Donuts this past Saturday. “New doughnut,” he said gesturing to a few orange frosted Halloween numbers. I left with just a coffee. I have yet to have one of Dominique Ansel’s wildly popular Cronuts, though I have had the Paris Baguette knockoff, which was quite nice. So I was eager to try to Dunkin’s croissant doughnut, particularly since it did not entail waking at an ungodly hour to wait in line with hordes of food faddists. (more…)
The Oreo has been one of my favorite cookies since I was a kid. Dunked in milk or even deep-fried, it’s a taste of simpler times. A few years ago Nabisco began rolling out a whole range of new flavors, some good—notably chocolate and peanut better—and some bad, like watermelon and banana split. In fact there are some many flavors that I like to joke about new Brand Expansion Oreos. Now Nabisco has jumped on the mashup bandwagon with Oreo Crème Filled Chips Ahoy. (more…)
“What’s in those jars?” I asked my pal Rojina at Dhaulaghiri Kitchen the other night. “Oh that’s very spicy, Nepali people eat it with their thali,” she replied. She knows me as someone who does not shy away from the heat of chili peppers. In fact she’d just taught me how to make the popular snack sandheko waiwai and was amazed at how much red pepper powder I added. So when she characterized dalle pickle as “very spicy” I knew it must be no joke. (more…)
The ba si on the package looked kind of promising.
Ba si, deep-fried candied bits of fruit or tuber—apple, sweet potato, or taro—are a favorite end to meals in Flushing’s many Dongbeirestaurants. The golden brown chunks are encased in a sticky molten coating that hardens when dipped in the accompanying bowl of ice water, sending forth filaments of pulled sugar.So when I saw the above package of honey sweet potato in the freezer case at J Mart, I was overcome by the prospect of having this wonderful dish at home, via microwave no less. (more…)
Thai potato chips by way of Billyburg and Great Britain.
I first came across the British potato chip brand Walkers at Butcher Block, the Irish grocer in Woodside. Actually to be more precise Walkers makes crisps as they are called in the U.K., in such flavors as roast chicken and prawn cocktail. So when I spotted the stylish black bag of Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli Crisps at Bedford Cheese Shop I immediately forked over $1.75 and took the Southeast Asian flavored potato chips back to Queens for a Taste Drive. (more…)