While there’s nothing wrong with the predictable hunger killers – peanuts, pretzels, a piece of fruit — these go-to mini-meals are distinctly uninspired. Our weekly Man Food series will help you fight the scourge of boring snacks.
Junk food may be one of America’s most notorious exports, but that doesn’t mean the international versions of your favorite snack foods are the same as what you’d find at home. While our global neighbors may turn up their noses at our Easy Cheese and Twinkies, familiar treats like Oreos, Pringles, and Kit Kit bars can be found on the shelves of grocery stores around the world, though the recipes have often been tweaked to meet local tastes. From poutine-flavored potato chips to cantaloupe soda, here are seven international versions of popular snacks that may leave some Americans scratching their heads.
1. Ruffles Poutine (Canada)
You probably know that Canadians like to munch on ketchup chips, but that’s not the only unusual flavor of fried potato you’ll find north of the border. Ruffles Poutine chips seem specially designed to appeal to those looking for a less-messy version of Canada’s famous comfort food.
2. Wasabi Kit Kats (Japan)
Kit Kat is one of the best-selling candy bars in Japan. The name evokes the Japanese phrase kitto katsu, which translates to “surely win,” according to Ad Age. Manufacturer Nestlé started marketing the treats as a way to send good-luck messages to students before they took tests. Now you can find the wasabi flavor in stores in Japan (as well as on Amazon), along with apple pie, strawberry cheesecake, sweet purple potato, and other varieties. Our chocolate-covered wafers seem pretty dull by comparison.
3. Thai Sweet Chilli Pringles (U.K., Ireland, Greece)
Pringles may have not have been an instant hit when Proctor & Gamble first unveiled its unique take on the potato chip in 1968, but today the signature skinny cans can be found everywhere from Argentina to Ukraine. Different flavors are available in different markets (honey mustard in Australia, Emmental cheese in France). In the U.K., Ireland, Greece, and a handful of other countries, you’ll find a Thai sweet chilli variety.
4. Taco Bell Potato and Paneer Burrito (India)
Fast food restaurants regularly adjust their menus to appeal to local diners, which is why you’ll find beer at some McDonald’s in Europe and a pork-and-seaweed donut at Dunkin’ Donuts in China. So you won’t be able to get a Steak Chalupa Supreme in India, where many people don’t eat beef for religious reasons, but you can get a Potato and Paneer Burrito in regular, supreme, and volcano varieties.
5. Green Tea Ice Cream Oreos (China)
Classic Oreos are the world’s best-selling cookie, but that doesn’t mean Nabisco won’t tweak the recipe on occasion. Varieties like red velvet and pumpkin spice pop up in the U.S. from time to time, but if you’re really on the hunt for an unusual flavor, you’ll have to head abroad. Several unique Oreo flavors have been developed for the Chinese market, including grape-peach, mango-orange, birthday cake, and green tea ice cream. Kotaku reviewed them all here.
6. Snickers & Hazelnut (U.K., Australia, and Poland)
Getting rid of the peanuts in Snickers may seem like messing with perfection, but people in the U.K. can now satisfy their hunger with a Snickers & Hazelnut bar. This variety of the popular candy is also available in Australia and Poland, but hasn’t made its way to America just yet (despite our growing appreciation for other hazelnut-flavored snacks, like Nutella).
7. Cantaloupe Fanta (Egypt)
In the U.S., you’ll find Fanta in ho-hum varieties like orange, grape, and strawberry. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of flavors for this sweet soft drink, which is manufactured by Coca-Cola and sold in 188 countries. Special flavors are made for many local markets, including blackcurrant in Tanzania, toffee in Taiwan, and tamarind in Mexico. In Egypt, you can sip bottles of cantaloupe-flavored soda.
Follow Megan on Twitter @MeganE_CS