It’s a truth universally acknowledged (though not oft spoken) that the vast majority of people on planet Earth must be in want of a snack or two in their pantry at all times. Even those who prefer keeping their snacking to the minimum won’t say no to the occasional extra bite after a meal.
Snacks may not be responsible for our sustenance, but they have no lesser part to play in our overall well-being: they provide comfort and emotional satisfaction. And in certain situations, those aspects are essential to the meal.
We, Americans, are particularly good at snacking. Look no further than numbers: snack food sales have surpassed $100 billion and keep growing. And yet, most people’s snack consumption is so… static. Most people stick to what they know and rarely try something new.
It likely isn’t entirely their fault either. Are you the type of person who stocks their pantry with their favorite snacks or the kind that grabs the snacks on a whim? Do you order snacks online or get them at a local grocery store? We ask because if you’re the latter, you’re likely missing out on some of the most interesting, unique, and delicious items the snack food world offers.
Here are some of our personal favorites we think deserve more recognition and hate to see snack lovers miss out on. Check out Yummy Bazaar’s collection and order snacks online:
Truffle Potato Chips
Truffle has been the buzzword of haute cuisine for years. Suitably, it was only a matter of time before the world’s hottest delicacy would be crossed with its hottest snack.
Even if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like trying new things, you should change your routine for these chips. They’re the easiest way to have a luxury experience right at home.
Truffle potato chips come in both black truffle flavor and white truffle flavor.
Black truffle potato chips have an intense earthy, nutty, somewhat mushroomy but more delicate flavor.
White truffle potato chips have a similarly deep earthy flavor, but they are also a bit spicier, with subtle garlicky notes.
These chips are good on their own, but if you want a chips and dip combo, choose a light and creamy dip that won’t overwhelm their flavor.
Lentil chips are often marketed as a healthy alternative to potato chips, which doesn’t do them honor in their own right.
The real reason you should put lentil chips in your pantry is that they’re delicious. Lentil chips are lighter and airier than potato chips but also super crunchy and flavorful. They pair well with most thick and flavorful dips, from spicy queso to guacamole. If you have doubts because lentil chips aren’t standard chips and dip ingredients, now’s the time to give them a chance and prove yourself wrong.
Classic pita chips are made by baking (not frying) pita bread cut in triangles. Pita chips’ flavor tends to be less intense, but their texture is very crunchy and pleasant. Due to their subtler flavor, they work better when paired with other ingredients, like cheese. Hummus and pita chips are among the most iconic chips and dip pairs in the world.
We’ve talked plenty about the chips and dip combo, so unsurprisingly, we think you should also check out some unique dips for your pantry. Classic salsa and queso are good, but try adding a bit of an unusual flair.
Try unusual combinations like spicy peach mango salsa, bacon pepper dip, or pineapple chipotle salsa. Local manufacturer Stonewall Kitchen is all about unique flavors.
Baci Perugina Candies
Baci (meaning “kiss”) is Italian brand Perugina’s signature candy. Created in 1922, Baci Perugina has a soft creamy chocolate center mixed with small hazelnut bits and a whole hazelnut sat atop. It’s covered with a double coat of finest dark chocolate and wrapped in silver foil, a throwback to the original design.
The Baci Perugina line has significantly expanded since 1922, with milk-coated (blue foil), caramel (gold foil), extra dark (black foil), and limited edition candies hitting the market. They’re all unique, delicious and represent Italian chocolate’s best qualities.
Japanese Kit-Kat is a force of its own. At this point, it has become more iconic than the original.
What’s great about Japanese Kit-Kat is that you can always count on it to provide new and exciting flavors. If you want classic chocolate with a twist, there’s bittersweet Otono no Masa. If you want something fruity, there’s an entire line from classic strawberry to orange to banana. If you want traditional Japanese flavors, there’s matcha green tea, burnt hojicha tea, cherry blossom, and Ramune soda. And for the truly adventurous, there are unique flavors like soy sauce, miso soup, and rock salt.
Japanese Kit-Kat is an adventure. Any self-respecting snacker should keep at least one in the pantry.
Taiwanese Pineapple Cake
For the lovers of more traditional Asian desserts, there’s always Taiwanese pineapple cake. Originally ceremonial food, these soft sponge cakes became an iconic Taiwanese snack food during the first half of the 20th century. Today they’re so popular that tourists tend to grab them as souvenirs while visiting Taiwan.
Taiwanese pineapple cakes are very sweet but light due to the large amount of butter and sugar used. They either have pineapple jam filling or slices of whole pineapple mixed with butter that turn soft and jammy during baking.
Classic Italian cookies are a popular tea accompaniment, particularly at breakfast. They’re somewhat similar to Scottish shortbread, but while Italian cookies maintain the crumbly texture and rich buttery flavor, most bakers have long adjusted the recipe to their tastes.
Mass-produced Italian shortbread-style cookies either wholly substitute butter with oil or use both butter AND oil to attain the proper texture. They also frequently use honey as a sweetener, an ingredient you won’t usually find in Scottish shortbread cookies. Certain cookies additionally call for milk or cream, both for texture and flavoring.
Mulino Bianco’s Macine cookies would be a good example. They have become so iconic that you’ll easily find independent recipes online. They might as well be synonymous with the term “Italian cookie.” And they’re made with oil and butter, cream, and milk.
Spanish turron comes in two varieties: soft (Blando) and hard (Duro). They’re both made by mixing a blend of honey, sugar, and egg whites with toasted nuts (traditionally almonds). The texture depends on the amount of almonds and what form they’re in.
Turron Blando contains more almonds, around 65%. They’re ground to a paste before mixing it with the sweet blend. It’s yellowish or caramel in color and has a crumbly consistency.
Turron Duro is the “classic” nougat, with around 60% of the mass being whole roasted almonds. It looks like a compact white block.
Seaweed is a commonly used ingredient in Asian cooking, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there are some seaweed snacks around as well. Dried seaweed snack, made with nori (laver) and seasoned with soy sauce, is a classic, but there are some unique flavors as well, like nori with wasabi or green tea seasoning.
Seaweed Potato Chips
If a dried seaweed snack by itself doesn’t really excite you, try seaweed-flavored potato chips first. If the flavor is up your alley, chances are you’ll like the original seaweed snack as well.
Gourmet Cheese Crackers
Cheese crackers are one of the most popular snacks of all time. How could they not be when they’re a 2-in-1 combination of one of the most iconic culinary pairs in the world: cheese and crackers?
It seems like nothing could make a treat like this better, but true connoisseurs always like to kick things up a notch. Imagine crackers made with artisanal bread and flavored with cheeses you’d buy at artisanal cheese shops: quality gruyere, asiago, romano, aged parmesan, etc.
Now that’s an option worth considering when you order snacks online, no?
Picos de Pan
Picos are Spanish mini breadsticks. They have a light and somewhat bland taste, as they’re usually not flavored with any spices aside from salt. But Picos are primarily loved not for their flavor but texture. Very buttery and crunchy, they’re considered an indispensable ingredient of many Spanish tapas boards. Their neutral flavor pairs well with more deeply flavorful tapas ingredients like cured meats (jamon and chorizo), aged cheeses, olives, etc.
Okay, so this is not a snack, per se. But good snacks become better when paired with good beverages, and if you’re exploring snacks with unique flavors, why not explore drinks too?
Chinotto is small citrus, often described as a “ping pong ball-sized orange.” It has a touch more bitter and floral flavor than orange, with subtle undertones of cinnamon and clove.
The soda maintains these flavor qualities: it’s somewhat bitter, a bit spicy, and, combined with light carbonation, very refreshing.
Chinotto soda was created in 1930s Italy by San Pellegrino and is considered the first authentically Italian soda.
French Butter Cookies
French butter cookies called Palet Bretons are light and crunchy biscuits with a very rich and buttery flavor. They’re moderately sweet and a bit savory. Palet Bretons make a fantastic pair with both tea and coffee.
Japanese Bean and Cracker Mix
If there was ever an original twist on both trail mix and crackers, it’s this one. These mixes combine small puffy rice crackers called Arare and crunchy wheat crackers with roasted broad beans and nuts. Both crackers and beans are savory and heavily flavored, often with different spices. Flavoring agents include hot pepper, soy sauce, squid powder, salt, and sugar.
Oyster Omelette Potato Chips
Oyster Omelette potato chips are a Taiwanese exclusive. The oyster omelette itself is one of Taiwan’s most iconic foods, often served at night markets. It’s made by frying small oysters and covering them in an egg mixture thickened with sweet potato starch. It has a characteristically fishy, savory flavor and is often heavily spiced.
As often happens, the dish’s popularity among locals and tourists has led to snacks adopting the flavor. Oyster omelette potato chips combine the deep savory flavor of the dish with a light potato crunch. If you’re all for original and unique flavors, this is a snack for you.
Shrimp crackers, also called prawn crackers and shrimp chips, are a classic snack popular in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asian countries, with Indonesia considered their country of origin.
One thing people often get wrong about shrimp crackers is that they think that the name describes the flavor of the snack and not the snack itself.
In reality, shrimp crackers aren’t just shrimp-flavored rice or wheat crackers. They’re made with actual shrimp turned into a paste, mixed with tapioca flour and water. The mixture is then rolled out thin, cut, dried, and deep-fried.
Shrimp crackers are puffy, airy, very crunchy, and have (unsurprisingly) deep seafood flavor.
A Protein Bar (in Your Favorite Flavor)
Has your conscience started to bug you about the snacks? Add a protein bar (or a few) to your pantry. Protein bars are the snack people reach for when they want something sweet but are also filling a bit peckish and need to keep hunger at bay.
They’re also a great snack option if you often need to grab a bite on the go.
Protein bars have gotten a reputation for being chalky and sandy, but if you order snacks online, you can get gourmet and artisanal stuff instead of grocery store bars, and their texture is significantly better: softer and smoother.
And they come in myriad flavors, from classic chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter, to more original ones like cupcakes, mango coconut, and macadamia sea salt.