by Zhiqi Wang
Snacks have always been an important part in our lives, whether they’re for getting us through sheet after sheet of assessment papers or watching TV. They never fail to distract us from the mundanity of life as we indulge in a world of crunchiness, sweetness or savoriness.
Especially in this Circuit Breaker period, snacks have become an excuse for us to momentarily leave our apartments to buy – we’ll snack whatever that we get our hands on, from packets of salted peanuts or our favourite potato based Roller Coaster snack. Have you wondered what snacks people around the world eat? Here are some examples:
Khanom Buaeng: Thailand
You might not have noticed its name but you definitely have tasted its sweetness while in Bangkok. The dessert is made with a thin and crispy pancake, filled with sugar based filling that is light and fluffy. This combination creates a complex texture in one’s mouth – just after a few minutes, you will soon notice the box of 10, meant for your entire family, has become empty. There are all sorts of fillings for this: coconut, cheese, or anything you can imagine.
Vada Pav: India
This is the quintessential Indian hamburger, without the meat. Vada Pav is a popular afternoon snack which is a fritter made with lentils and potato stuffed between a bun, with generous servings of chutney and sometimes mint. This snack has all the elements of a good snack: refreshing from the chutney and mint sauce, crunchiness from the chutney and the fillingness from the bun. There is no better way to rejuvenate, other than paring it with a cup of chai.
Suppli is one of the most important snacks for many residents in Rome, and is easy to make: it’s a slab of cheese stuffed into a ball of rice and then deep fried. This is probably Rome’s answer to deep-fried Mars bars, with melted mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce wrapping each grain of rice. One story behind Suppli was that it was a way to get rid of leftover ingredients from restaurants. A word of warning: one is never enough.
Pirozhki is Russia’s solution to our curry puff. Pirozhki are buns made with a variety of fillings, including beef, potato, and cabbage. There are 2 main variants: baked and fried, mainly due to regional differences. Russia is known for its harsh winters and the best way to warm up in these sub zero temperatures are with a couple of Pirozhkis and a bowl of hot Borscht soup.
Arepa: Colombia and Venezuela
Arepa is the most common snack in the streets of Columbia and Venezuela. Made with ground maize, arepas are filled with dozens of different fillings like cuajada, a type of local fresh cheese, or dimblito, a typed of deviled ham spread. The first record of this snack dates back to some 3000 years ago, as exposed by explorations in new archaeological sites. Arepas only have very few ingredients: maize flour is mixed with water and salt before they are sent to the grilling pan. The aroma of freshly prepared Arepa is unmistakeable, with its distinct sweet scent.