Choose Maxine's Own Culinary Adventure, Part I

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Thanks for voting last week for a snack I should try! I got two votes for strawberry popcorn and one for the Korean chili chips, and I ended up buying a bag of each.

I started with the strawberry popcorn ($2 for a 4.23 ounce bag) for no reason other than the fact that I'd just eaten something savory and wanted something sweet to balance it out. When I first saw it at the supermarket, I was like "that's gotta be gross." This particular brand (Pop-Smile) also came in caramel and dark chocolate flavors and I did think, "I need to try the chocolate one." But the strawberry one is just so much more intriguing.

When I opened the bag, the smell was very familiar -- Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries! I'll admit I never liked Cap'n Crunch because I found it too sweet, even as a kid. But this popcorn is so much better than that, because it's both salty and sweet. And very, very light and crunchy. Kind of like the perfect texture for popcorn -- probably because it has a crunchy candy coating (though it's very light and barely detectable in color).

Nothing special to see here, maybe except for the light pink sprinkles

It is actually very good, particularly if you like artificially-flavored strawberry. The one thing I found that was kind of suspect was on the back of the package: "Commodity: Pop-Smile Popcorn Mushroom (Strawberry)." I'm hoping something was lost in translation and they actually meant "kernel" rather than "mushroom."

Next, the mysterious Korean spicy chips ($2 for a 6.35 ounce bag). As far as I can tell, there is no English name for it and I don't think the photo I linked to last time was exactly the same product. The bag says "Kormosa" at the top (perhaps a cute portmanteau of "Korea" and "Formosa," Taiwan's original name?) and I believe the brand is "Kiss My Food." Aside from that and the cartoon bubble "SO HOT" on the back, the rest is entirely in Chinese and Korean.

They're shaped like penne, which I find tremendously amusing. They have a nice kick to them, but I was disappointed to find that they also have a sweet glaze. I wish it weren't as sweet ... a little sweetness wouldn't have been bad, but it's definitely too sweet for my taste. (I'm the type of person who really dislikes having sweet things for proper hot meals, maybe except for sweet potatoes. I don't even really like the idea of eating sweet potato marshmallow casserole as a side dish. Dessert, maybe.) The glaze is bright red with little bits of some sort of green seasoning (parsley? bay leaves?). I might buy these again, but I rarely ever get a craving for spicy-sweet foods.

These two snacks are obviously very different and it's difficult to compare the two, but I'd say that all things considered, I'd be more likely to buy the spicy Korean chips again than the strawberry popcorn. I'm going to have to scope out another supermarket for some odd-looking goodies. Round Two of "Choose Maxine's Own Culinary Adventure" coming soon!

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