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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Snacks around the globe

Six items showcase new options offered in international snack stores
Skye Freeman
Chicago snack stores that showcase a range of international snacks have seen a boom in popularity in 2023. These six snacks reflect that new range of options.
Skye Freeman

International snack stores have seen a boom in popularity in the United States, Chicago especially, giving many people the option to purchase their own favorite cultural treats from thousands of miles away. From old classics of non-American cultures to new twists on American snacks, these six treats reflect the range of flavors now available in domestic stores.

Almond and cardamom dairy beverage

Price: $3.99

Origin: India

Founded as a restaurant in Bangalore, India, in 1924, and later as a global convenience product manufacturer, MTR foods has been a staple for efficient and heritage-rich meals in India. The company’s goal to be a world-class brand supplying ready-to-eat meals has brought their products to stores in the United States. Their badam(almond) and cardamom dairy beverage is sweet and refreshing, a healthy drink for those looking to expand their flavor profile. The flavor of badam, also known as almond kernel, is subtle yet sweet. Mixed with bits of almond and spiced with cardamom, the drink is reminiscent of ginger, tangy and earthy, with a slightly sweet kick. The almond pieces in the drink weren’t my favorite. They added a unique yet off-putting texture. Priced at $3.99 at Lincoln Park’s “Exotic Snack Guys” international snack store, the drink is a bit expensive but worth a try.

De la rosa pulparindots watermelon candy

Price: $1.99

Origin: Mexico

Dulces de la Rosa, a handmade candy brand founded in 1942, has turned into a major manufacturer of iconic Mexican artisanal sweets. Known for their mazapán and pulparindots candies, the brand can be found in many Mexican family-owned stores. Pulparindots, a candy made from the pulp of the tamarind fruit, flavored with sugar, salt and chili peppers, is a sweet, tangy and spicy treat. The watermelon-flavored pularindots lacked a distinctive watermelon flavor. Nevertheless, the green candies, with a gummy interior, were delicious and slightly spicy. The treat offers a unique flavor to switch up your sweet cravings. You can purchase them on Amazon, a 12-pack for $7.20, or in stores around Chicago. The price point is reasonable, and I definitely recommend it if you want a unique candy.

Bacon chips

Price: $4.99

Origin: Poland

Bacon wheat puffs, from the Polish Lapsy Company, are a part of their selection of natural puff chips. The company has spent 30 years in the market, selling snacks that are free of artificial additives. Many chip varieties and corn puff snacks can be found in Polish grocery stores. The chips’ subtle bacon flavor and smooth-yet-puffy texture make them almost addictive. Their products are popular in most of Europe, and while they are not well known in the United States, they are truly game changing. They’re located in international stores around the country and are relatively inexpensive, a 4-ounce bag selling for roughly $4.99.

Sweet chili puffs

Price: $9.99

Origin: Egypt

Sweet chili puffs, from the Flaminco Snack Manufacturing Co., are a staple in Egyptian stores. The company, founded in 1977, focuses on creating preservative and trans fat-free vegan corn puffs that still reflect the popular Egyptian snack. This snack has a really nice kick of spice, while remaining sweet and tangy, creating a perfect balance flavor. They are pleasantly puffy with a crisp crunch. Flaminco Snack Manufacturing Co. has countless other flavors for their puffs – cheese, peanut and meaty grill. Still, perfection comes at a cost: the chips go for roughly $9 in snack stores, which is a bit too pricey for me.

Cheesecake pejoy

Price: $5.99

Origin: Taiwan

Pejoy cheesecake cookie biscuit sticks, a product from Glico, the manufacturer of Pocky, is a scrumptious Taiwanese snack. The makers wanted to create the cookie, known as the “inside-out pocky,” with the filling on the inside, in hopes that they wouldn’t melt as easily as Pocky does. The cookie definitely tastes like pocky, a deliciously sweet cookie with filling. Yet the cheesecake filling felt more neutral and vanilla-like than I had imagined. While these cookie sticks lack the strong cheesecake flavor as I had hoped, countless other flavors provide an array of versions of the treat. The packaging is a cute vibrant yellow, and the sticks are perfectly shaped and tasty. Classic chocolate Pejoy can be purchased on Amazon for roughly $3 a pack or in smaller international stores if you seek a wider range of  flavors. I will definitely be purchasing again, and the elimination of the mess of the melted Pocky is genius.

Alenka chocolate with hazelnuts

Price: $4.99

Origin: Russia

Alenka chocolate, an iconic Russian chocolate known for a child’s picture on the wrapper, has been a staple since 1966. First made in the Soviet Union in 1965, the treat is described by some as the symbol of a happy Russian childhood. Unlike American chocolate, which is meant to be eaten relatively quickly, this rich and sweet chocolate is meant to be savored. It is richer than most other milk chocolate, and the chunks of hazelnut inside offer a nice and surprising texture. Priced at $4.50 on Amazon for 100-gram chocolate bars, and available in smaller international stores, any chocolate lover will be pleased.

Vox Pop: What is your favorite snack from your culture that you can get in the US? How is that important to you?

“My favorite snack from the U.S. that is available in the U.S. is definitely, I think, either mazapan or duvalin. It’s a very sweet candy. It’s from Mexico, and it’s very available over here in the U.S., and it’s very sweet, you know, tons of different flavors here that are so available. It’s definitely something I used to eat for my childhood a lot when I was in Mexico.”

-Adrian Chaides, sophomore (Mexican background)

“One cultural snack from my Ghanaian culture is called ‘Bofrot,’ pronounced ‘buff-root’; it’s made out of yeast dough, and it’s typically sweet. I usually eat these at parties or family gatherings. The importance of them to me is just the reminder of my family. Every time I eat these, I’m reminded of the good times I have with those I care about.”

-George Ofori-Mante, junior (Ghanaian background)

“My favorite snack is ‘thattai.’ It’s a south Indian crunchy snack that’s made with rice flour, ‘urad dal’ and spices. I don’t speak an Indian language so food is really the thing that has helped me feel most connected to my culture.”

-Kaavya Shriram, senior (Indian background)

“My family is Russian, and my favorite snack would probably be Sushki (also called boubliki) and anything with tea. They’re kind of like crackers and we dip them in tea. I usually buy them at Ann’s Bakery in Ukrainian Village, that’s where we get all of our food. We don’t have snacks like this in the U.S. and it’s important for me to stay connected to the culture.”

-Ilana Umanskiy, junior (Russian background)

— compiled by Taariq Ahmed, Edward Park and Victoria Washington

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About the Contributor
Skye Freeman, Audience Engagement Manager
Skye Freeman is a member of the Class of 2025 and is an audience engagement manager. She joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year when she was a sophomore. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is her story on the U-High drama teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Ambrosini: “Love that Lasts: U-High theater teachers married for over 50 years flawlessly execute show after show.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing Badminton and is vice president of the Students with Disabilities Association and of the Junior States of America club.

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