Mammos Cola Candy

Apologies for the late update. I’ve been quite busy lately, what with my university, my own writing, and numerous other things. The next week is pretty hectic, though I will try and keep the updates as frequent as possible.

Another first this time, with these hard ‘cola candy’ (콜라 캔디) from Mammos. The name is literally just ‘cola candy’ in Korean, which looks something like ‘korra kaendi’ when transliterated. It’s ugly, but it is what it is.

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I experienced some kind of tragic enthusiasm when first opening these, as they satisfied a condition that many western snacks do not – at least not anymore. The foil bag in which they came was filled to the brim with individually wrapped candies. As many western readers will tell you, empty space or air seems to be half the contents in many snacks. The bag gets bigger, the contents get smaller. But not here my friends. The bag is loaded, and you get more than you could expect.

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Another annoying trend that has been successfully avoided is the ‘clumping’ these kinds of sweets. Remember Campino? Do they even sell them anymore? Anyway, the problem they suffered, along with many other brands, is that they were loosely piled into the bag with no individual wrappers. If you stored them incorrectly, or you kept them in the bag for too long; hell, even for no reason AT ALL – they would clump together in one huge hard chunk, which necessitated you then chisel them apart with an ice pick or sledgehammer. Cola Candy? No sir, none of that here. Each candy is individually wrapped, again in foil, which guarantees no clumping, and keeps each piece super fresh.

Aside from actual cola, the drink I mean, I’ve personally found cola-flavoured products have for the most part fallen short of the real taste. My personal theory is that cola is a carbonated drink, and so emulating the sensation it produces on the tongue when drunk is quite difficult – probably even impossible to pull off correctly. These candies don’t have the ‘tongue fizzling’ quality to them. Bad for those who desire genuine flavour, though fairly inconsequential to those who just want to eat something tasty.

They’re small, perhaps the size of those chewable vitamins, so you can even stick two or three into your mouth at once (if you’re into that kind of thing). This is definitely a product for the car or workstation – maybe even to put into your school or university bag. They’ll last a long time, so you can dip into them every now and again when you fancy something small and flavoursome.

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As a corollary, ever since I gave up smoking candies like this have been a godsend. That oral fixation never quite goes away, so hard candies, chewing gum – even coffee, tea, and flavoured drinks have served as good distractions.

One more thing: my girlfriend claims to have never seen these in Korea before. I did a Google search (in Korean) and the exact brand pictured turned out to be quite uncommon. Maybe they’re new, or perhaps just not widely circulated. Who knows…

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Crown Cheese Biscuits

There was a little confusion regarding this product when I first mentioned them to my girlfriend. Crown cheese biscuits, or crackers as some people might call them, had written on the box the words ‘뽀또’, which I instantly read as ‘bbo-ddo’ – or ‘board’. Thus, cheese board. But apparently it’s not that at all. One should, as I’m told, read it as ‘ppo-tto’, which is a unique example of Korean onomatopoeia; the sound one makes when biting into these delicious biscuits. Still, let’s refer to it as a happy coincidence and a clever example of dual-meaning.

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A common snack in Korea, I immediately took these for an Eastern version of Ritz crackers, a comparison I would soon learn was not too far off from the reality. For those of you who haven’t had Ritz biscuits (do you people exist?), you may have to bear with me when I speak with some assumed familiarity.

So these biscuits are effectively two Ritz crackers stuck on a small cheese centre. I say cheese, but the flavour is something a little different. I really can’t tell you what it is, though the cheese flavour, as most of us know it, is very thin indeed; to what remains I have yet to draw an apt comparison. The texture is almost identical to Ritz: somewhat soft, a rough texture on the surface; yet soon melts in your mouth. I guess the sensation you might typically associate with a biscuit is here not present; it’s very much two soft crackers, with a soft filling between them. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a similar product in the U.K.

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I have to say – and quite unusually – that this is a product I wasn’t too overjoyed with. They certainly weren’t bad, in that I had to eject them from my mouth like a Frisbee onto the plate; but they were forgettable. Korean cheese does have a reputation of being sub-standard (it being mostly in the ‘plastic’ slice form); but for a nation that doesn’t produce or consume a great deal of ‘real’ cheese, this certainly isn’t a slight. The centre simply isn’t that flavoursome, and ultimately falls flat.

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I’ve eaten one of the two packs in the box so far. For my second box, I may buy some Ritz and a slab of nice extra mature cheddar, fashion my own cheese board, and then go to town. I have no doubt it’ll be superior; but in all fairness that would be moving the goalposts somewhat. Being something of a cheese connoisseur however, the disappointment I felt with this product was a little more than a shake of the head an enervated 실망이야…

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Lotte Waffle Mate

The first thing that struck me about Lotte’s Waffle Mate (와플 메이트, literally ‘waffle mate’) was that they bore a striking resemblance to the Dutch stroopwafel, or ‘syrup waffle’. That is, at least in appearance. My original assessment was only half right, and there was much to discover about this delightful little snack than I had originally envisioned.

First of all, these aren’t really waffles – at least how most people know waffles. Most people in the U.K would define waffles as the grid-like shapes made out of potato that are traditionally served hot; the Americans however would define them as those big things they have at breakfast, heaped in sickly-sweet syrup and god knows what else. But these are neither here nor there. They’re not bad, of course; but very different.

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Each box comes with two foil-sealed packets, each containing three waffles. It’s most definitely a lunchbox food, and similar in portion size to many savoury breakfast bars easily bought here. I speak from personal experience when I say that each packet is very short-lived. One is certainly enough; though if you’re especially hungry, you may find yourself destroying the entire box…

So what are they like, you might ask? It may sound strange, though I’d like the texture to biscuits that have gone just ever so slightly stale. I personally love stale biscuits, so that’s all good news to me. They’re soft, though retain just a smidgen of crunch to them. The taste is definitely waffle-like. I can’t say much more on that front, as describing the taste of waffles without using waffles as a means of comparison is surprisingly difficult. To put it this way: if you like waffles, and are very much in the waffle crowd, then you will love these things.

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I still have one packet left to go in my batch, so will test these out with a pot full of tea and coffee. Something tells me there’s a great deal of extra flavour to be gotten when combined with that good old English addiction…

For those of you that have tried these any other way, either by experimentation or otherwise, please let me know! I’m always looking for novel ways to stuff my face!

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Haitai Original Egg Snack

It’s cookie time again! Well, sort of. As a dyed-in-the-wool filthy tea drinker and red coat, I’d have to describe these more as biscuits; though my girlfriend calls them cookies. Whatever category you want to put them in, these are known to Koreans by the name of ‘계란과자’ (kyeah-ran gwa-ja – literally ‘egg snack’). It’s original, too. This delightful product comes from Haitai, or as is written on the packaging, ㅎ태.

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I had an unusual attack of nostalgia whilst I eating these, which I still haven’t been able to identify exactly. It immediately called to mind those small, somewhat hard biscuits they sell here under the Farley’s brand, rusks. They’re not quite as hard, though there was a scarcely perceptible similarity. Aside from that, these are in a league of their own, unlike anything I’ve tasted before.

Inside the box is a small foil bag. Admittedly, these do tend to suffer from ‘air-packing syndrome’, as I shall now to refer to the phenomenon (totally just made that up): the ability for a foil or plastic snack bag to be seemingly bursting with contents, but in reality is scarcely halfway full. These have that, unfortunately. I didn’t count how many, as the biscuits themselves are very small; but there certainly weren’t as many as I was expecting.

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That said, they’re delicious. Something of a halfway house between a regular cookie and a soft mallow-type snack, they go down pretty easy. Owing to their small size, you need to take two or three at a time to really feel like you’re getting the most potential out of the flavour. The flavour, by the way, I thought was conspicuously un-eggy. Not in a bad way; though if I were handed these in a blind test I certainly wouldn’t put egg at the top of the list. There’s a certain creamy, ‘fresh’ flavour to which no words can do justice – you’ll simply have to try them to know what I’m talking about.

Despite being sweet, I feel these are very much the ambassadorial types of the Korean snack world: fairly simple, small in portion size, and inoffensive insofar as wildness of taste, texture and whatever else is concerned. In plainer terms, these are definitely the ticket when it comes to introducing your elderly or otherwise unassertive family members to foreign snack foods.

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Additionally, I’ve always thought these would make a good movie snack. Take a box with you, and gradually run through them as you watch. Not that I’m promoting avoiding the stinging prices of the concessions… but… yeah, well.

I was told after the fact by my girlfriend that these are heavenly to eat with a glass of milk, chocolate chip cookie style. Alas, I polished off the box before any such research could be undertaken; but that’ll definitely be my next venture.

Dr Chung’s Food Snow Chocolate

Owing to a recent illness, I’ve been debating whether I’ve been eating too many sugary snacks. Or maybe it’s the opposite; that I’m not eating enough…

Anyway, this is my first drink review in what is hopefully a long line to come. A fairly small carton, like the fruit juices we normally have here in the U.K, Snow Chocolate (스노우 쇼콜라, literally ‘snow chocolat’), put out by the Dr Chung’s Food brand, fails to disappoint. Or should that be chocolat, as the French spell it? Let’s move on.

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If the pictures didn’t already give it away, Snow Chocolate is effectively chocolate milkshake. But it isn’t just chocolate milkshake – at least how people in the U.K might know it. Here, for those who aren’t familiar with our domestic brands, milkshakes of any flavour fall ostensibly into two categories: the milky kind (that is, the ‘thin-tasting’ ones), and the thicker, more gloopy varieties like Mars, Galaxy, etc – the latter being the drinkable versions of the chocolate bars.

Snow Chocolate seems to dodge those two distinctions quite well, and while boasting quite a few similarities to the typical fare, manages to rise above the rest quite unexpectedly. I’ve given a few other products on here this compliment before, but Snow Chocolate has a very genuine, much more relatable flavour than your average product. The chocolate manages to give the impression of chocolate, but doesn’t overpower the senses. The milky aspect on the other hand is still present, though it isn’t disappointingly watery, thin, and unsatisfying. If I had to name a closest comparison, it’d likely be the Galaxy chocolate milkshake, though not as off-putting with its gross richness.

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I’d say one advantage of the brand is that it’s very small in size, much like the small fruit juice boxes one takes on road trips, or to pack into lunchboxes. Smaller is better you say? In this case, absolutely. Whilst Snow Chocolate skirts the border between rich and weak in taste, it also works out perfectly in terms of portion size. Once you’ve slowly sipped all the contents, you feel just about content. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought a regular bottle of milkshake, only to feel that uncomfortable bloating and fullness after finishing it. You don’t get none of that here, folks.

As the saying goes, good things do indeed come in small packages!