When I hear someone say they don’t really snack, I’m convinced they either don’t know what “snacking” means or simply haven’t tried any of the options from Asia. If it’s due to the latter, I’ll give them a pass. Maybe they haven’t been able to travel abroad in the past few years or lack access to a brick-and-mortar grocer like 99 Ranch, H Mart, or Mitsuwa. That’s where Umamicart, an online shop dedicated to delivering premium quality Asian grocery items, can come to the rescue.
Like the fresh produce, meat, and pantry staples on offer, the sky’s the limit on the snacks you can snag on Umamicart (for great prices). To get you started, here are the 18 best snacks — chips, crackers, candy, cakes, and other things that don’t begin with the letter “c” — available on the site.
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Nongshim Onion Rings
Let onion rings and Funyuns take the backseat the next time you’re peckish, and fuel up with these slightly lighter, mega-savory onion ring crackers from Nongshim.
Calbee Shrimp Chips
Shrimp chips are huge in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. They’re packed with umami and crunch to the nth degree, and — while I’m not the biggest fan of regular shrimp — these chips don’t aggressively smack of shrimpyness. There’s something about them that just hits different.
Lay's Potato Chips Spicy Hot Pot Flavor
At first, I was hesitant to try Lay’s range of experimental and international flavors thinking they may taste too artificial or lackluster. But, to my surprise, all the ones I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a ton) have done nothing but hit distinct flavor profiles to a tee. The Spicy Hot Pot flavor tastes ingeniously of tingly Sichuan peppercorn and punchy, heat-packed broth.
Haruya Vegetable Snack
Because eating veggie chips is the same as eating a salad, right? Maybe. Regardless, Haruya’s cracker clusters are infused with actual carrots, spinach, pumpkin, and potato — so this a pretty virtuous food to munch on.
Nongshim Banana Kick Chips
Take the sweet, malty milkiness of a banana shake, combine it with the melt-in-your-mouth airy texture of a cheese puff, and what do you get? These super scrumptious banana chips.
Samyang Chang Gu Snack
Take inspiration from the mischievous character gracing this bag, and channel your inner kid with this honey and sesame-coated corn snack. Here’s how you do it: First, pop one corn ring on each of your fingers. Next, pull a corn ring off with your teeth, and chomp away. I wish I could take credit for this method, but it’s a well-established practice among Chang Gu Snack lovers.
There’s a lot to love about Haw Flakes. Made from hawthorn, a small red berry native to China, they’re as fun to eat as they are to unravel from the package and pull apart. They melt like a caramel, are tangy like a Sour Patch Kids, and feel as smooth as fruit leather. Put all of this together, and it’s a brilliant candy equation. Added bonus: in traditional Chinese medicine, Haw Flakes are utilized as a digestive aid.
Kasugai Gummy, Grape
You haven’t experienced pure joy until you’ve had a pack of Kasugai Gummy Candies. They truly ruined all other moist, jammy fruit snacks for me. If you’re hooked on the juicy sweetness from grapes or any grape-flavored products, then you’re in for a treat.
Lotte Yogurt Jelly
Are you a fan of Yakult (the cute little Korean probiotic yogurt drink) and all things delightfully squidgy? If so, you’ll fall in love with these gummies.
Puchao Bubbly Soda Flavor
Here’s a chewy candy that encapsulates the bubbly, fizzy flavor profile of Japanese ramune soda. In all likelihood, you’ll unwrap one piece, then probably unwrap another. And another.
Royal Family Bubble Tea Milk Cake
Staying on the theme of drink-flavored snacks, here’s Taiwanese boba cake. Each of these cakelets are studded with a gooey boba center and have a touch of delicate milk tea taste. Grabbing one is more expedient than (and just as delicious as) whipping up or ordering a cup of boba tea. Could you hypothetically have both together? Absolutely.
Lotte Pepero, Almond Flavor
There’s Pocky, and then there’s Pepero. They are not the same. I love both for different reasons, but what I like about Pepero is that it offers an especially snappy biscuit and a chocolate coating that’s gently sweet and milky. There’s a variety of quirky flavor offerings — from original chocolate all the way to white chocolate cookie and strawberry — but the almond version is my top pick.
Moon Man Ube Kaya Jam
Snacks can be whatever you want them to be. And, in my book, a big spoonful of nut butter, hummus, or jam qualifies as something to graze on. I love to eat Moon Man’s Ube Kaya Jam straight from the jar as much as I enjoy slathering it onto a piece of toasted milk bread, folding it into mochi cake batter, or adding it to a thick yogurt.
Taisun Mixed Congee with Wild Rice
If you can have congee as a meal at time of the day, why can’t it be a snack? This instant one includes soft granules of rice and sweet red beans, and it’s a great pick-me-up that leaves you nicely nourished. Crack open the lid and enjoy it instantly (it’s completely shelf-stable), or pop this in a microwave-safe bowl, heat it up, and savor it warm.
Glico Pretz Roast Flavor Party Pack
Because of how freshly-baked they taste, these thin pretzel sticks remind me of the breadsticks you sometimes get at Italian restaurants. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Jane Jane Shredded Squid
Snacking when drinking is obligatory, and dried and shredded seafood — like this squid snack from Jane Jane — is the perfect companion to baijiu, sake, soju, beer, or any other drink of your choice.
Tom's Almond, Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cake) Flavor
As a Korean-American, I take tteokbokki very seriously. Therefore, it’s my sacred duty to try and carefully evaluate every new recipe and snack that’s marketed to taste like the dish. Believe me when I say that these saucy almonds passed my taste test in burning red fashion.
Norimaki Arae Rice Cracker
Last, but certainly not least, is a classic. I simply have to snag a bag of these seaweed-wrapped rice crackers on any given Umamicart shopping spree because they’re saturated with savory, glutamic goodness. Basically, they’re little umami bombs.