Showing posts with label snacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snacks. Show all posts

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Snacks - junk food in Bangkok

I took advantage of my travel to Bangkok to finish some reports. Scanning the nearby supermarket for something to eat and drink while working, I chanced upon some junkfood that we used to enjoy while living in Singapore.

Cheezels and Chachos were available at a supermarket chain of a major retailer in the Metro Manila. I don't find them in their shelves anymore so I assume these aren't generally available locally.
I also like chocolate milk and there are many choices in the supermarket so I have my fill of milk while working late. What I couldn't find was Yakult. There's a local version/brand of the probiotic drink but I opted not to purchase a pack.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018


They say its better to eat peanuts instead of junk food. And there are a lot of articles including very scientific ones that validate the health benefits of peanuts. While there are many peanut vendors around, including at the market, I usually get our supply of peanuts from a suki vendor at a nearby mall.

Selection of peanuts (roasted with skin, without skin, garlic, adobo, spicy, etc.)
There are other nuts, beans and corn snacks being sold. The cashew nuts we get from the vendors at the pasalubong shops along Sumulong Highway.
Our daughter loves nuts and its good that she is not allergic to them. She likes the roasted, adobo flavored peanuts but without the skin. She likes the garlicky taste and munches on the crunchy garlic that's usually mixed with the peanuts.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pocky chocolate covered pretzels

I already featured one of my favorite snacks when I was in Japan. That is the Pocky pretzel sticks made by Glico. A box can be quite expensive at the typical supermarket, retailing around 120 to 180 pesos depending on the variant and the manufacturer. The more expensive ones are those from Japan instead of those made in Thailand. The 'basic' Pocky is the one in the red box and there are many other variants now like strawberry, green tea and cookies & cream that are available in local supermarkets. I found the following variant for what appears (if I understood it right) to be the bitter milk chocolate version of Pocky in a Daiso store. I got it for 88 pesos per box, which I thought was a reasonable price considering I saw the same priced at 160 pesos in a supermarket. I will surely buy me a few more boxes for my cache for when I have a craving for Pocky.

A box of Pocky contains 2 packs of chocolate covered pretzel sticks.
This box is a premium variant and there is even a message box for giving it as a gift.
The chocolate covered sticks are enjoyable to eat in part because the sticks are on the crunchy side. You can also play with it like I do, imagining a stick to be like a cigarette and consuming one bit at a time.  I don't smoke but I had played this pretend thing since I was introduced to similar pretzel snacks when I was a child.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Snack time at Dunkin Donuts

The wife and I decided to have merienda while waiting for our dog being groomed at the shop beside our vet. Our search for a place to have a snack at led us to a Dunkin Donuts among a bunch of restaurants along Marcos Highway. Dunkin Donuts serves good coffee and the wife wanted to have a cup to go with a donut (we are at a donut shop after all). While looking at the donuts on display, I spotted their sandwich selections and we ended up getting a couple of tuna sandwiches on ciabatta bread.

The branch was made up for Valentine's Day and they had some promos for boxes of donuts

Our sort of a Valentine's date with tuna melt sandwiches, a donut each, coffee for the wife and hot chocolate for me.
The donuts, coffee and chocolate was as expected and satisfying. We were actually surprised that the sandwiches were good. It was a good heavy merienda for us and we had fun talking about how we didn't go on actual Valentine's dates since we got together. It was February the 13th and so we continued with our streak of not dating on the 14th.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Chocolate-covered potato chips

The Clairvoyant and I have been curious about the chocolate-covered potato chips being sold by Royce. They were supposed to be very good and one can easily finish a bag in one sitting. So one time while browsing the foreign foods shelves at the supermarket for soba sauce, I casually picked up a cup of chocolate covered potato chips. Showing it to the wife, she asked me to take two so we can sample them. Each cup was light so we didn't expect much in terms of the amount of chips inside each.

The hiragana states 'jaga' and jaga stands for potato. So 'jaga choco' roughly translates to 'chocolate potato'.
Inside the package are a few chocolate-covered potato chips. The chips have ridges, which I guess makes them easier for the chocolate to attach to.

These chocolate-covered potato chips are made by Bourbon, a Japanese company specializing in snacks. I have enjoyed a lot of their products when I was in Japan so I wasn't surprised that their 'jaga choco' was also very good. It is quite pricey though at 120+ PHP per cup so it isn't something you would want to splurge on more frequently. Still, we would probably be getting a couple of cups from time to time. This definitely counts as some sort of comfort junk food.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Puto at kutsinta

I always remind myself of our relative proximity to Antipolo's new public market. It is where we get our fresh seafood and vegetables on weekends. We also found good old kakanin or rice cakes being sold there and we quickly made sukis out of some vendors of puto, kutsinta and sapin-sapin.

I prefer "puto sa bilao" or "puto manapla" than the other types of puto that you can buy from the leading bakeshops. The latter are not really puto since many use flour and not rice for the doughs. I prefer the classic puto that you can buy at the market or at shops that specialize in native kakanin. There are still many of these shops around Rizal especially in Cainta, Taytay and Antipolo.

Puto and kutsinta are traditional rice cakes or kakanin. In the photo is puto sa bilao, which is sliced from a giant rice cake on a flat basket (bilao).

Kutsinta is made of glutinous rice and goes very well with shaved coconut.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Chocolate review: Toblerone Swiss dark chocolate

One of our all time favorites is Toblerone chocolate. I have very fond memories of eating Toblerones brought or sent by relatives who were abroad. This was in the 1980s when chocolates like this along with Hershey's, Cadbury, Kitkat and Snickers. These were not readily available on local supermarket shelves and were usually "imported" as pasalubong or souvenirs. Not everyone had access to the "PX goods" stores that sold these chocolates at premium prices and not everyone had relatives from abroad (balikbayan or OFW) whose arrivals are also associated with duty free shopping. Later, as these chocolates became available everywhere I think many had lost their appeal as people wanted to get the "not so easy to get" bars, especially with information now available on the internet.

Recently, I got reacquainted with Kit Kat due to the new variations that came out of Japan (e.g., orange, sakura, and macha or green tea). These were a welcome twist for the chocolate and have become very popular. Last December, I decided to get a couple of small Toblerone dark chocolate bars. We had missed the taste of Toblerone and wanted to have some for old times sake.

Toblerone's version of dark chocolate
Nutrition information and expiration date on one side of the distinctive triangular-shaped package.
The information states a minimum of 50% cocoa for this bar, which is higher than other regular dark chocolates in supermarkets.
Toblerone Swiss dark chocolate contains more cocoa than other regular dark chocolates in local supermarkets. However, it retained its very distinctive nougat from the original Toblerones. That makes us enjoy both the taste of slightly bitter chocolate with the delightful, classic nougat of Toblerone chocolates - definitely something good that makes us reminisce about childhood treats from abroad.
A few years ago, I found that Snickers, too, had a dark chocolate variant and had bought boxes of these from a supermarket at the former Clark Air Base. I have yet to find these again locally but will write about them in another post soon.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Rural halu-halo

A very popular refreshment for the summer days in the Philippines is halu-halo (literally a "mixture"). You'll find different versions of this around the country being sold at restaurants including fast food chains. The more common scene would be roadside halu-halo stands and those you find in the sari sari stores (neighbourhood stores) and wet markets in every town. The roadside stands are the most informal ones usually manned by enterprising households hoping to make a few bucks for a serving of the treat. These, however, I think gives some of the best (and some will say the worst) experiences for having this summer treat.

But why pine for Razon's or Chowking halu-halo if you are in a remote area without the comforts we'd see in the bigger cities and towns? Certainly, when you're on a stop and craving for some refreshments then you'd probably take your chance by getting halu-halo from a roadside stand. That's not exactly throwing caution to the wind as we haven't heard of any rash of illnesses stemming from such stands. The rule when you're in the field seems to be "if it looks clean and people don't look sick then it's good enough to eat or drink." But then I don't want to include water in this generalisation and I would strongly urge anyone who's uncertain about the water source to opt for soft drinks instead.

Our staff enjoying halu-halo from a roadside stand near the village basketball court.
This was definitely not one of the better halu-halos from the perspective of ingredients. However, on a scorching day it is a  very welcome relief from the heat.
Most of the stuff seemed to me as coloured sago (tapioca pearls) or gelatine. What looked like coconut was actually agar agar according to the vendor. 
Our refreshment with plenty of evaporated milk over the shaved ice to wash down the tremendous amount of sugar to the bottom of the plastic.
So far there have been no reports of food poisoning among us though a couple have reported some LBM yesterday, a couple of days after our field work. Both declined to attribute it to the halu-halo though it suspect the water from which the ice was made to be the culprit. In any case, this is another one of those situations where we say we'll just "charge it to experience." On the extreme side, if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chilling at the bookstore

Whenever I am at Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and I had the time, I try to pass by the Fully Booked branch there. I like browsing their shelves for books, comics or CDs. I think I usually picked up a book, magazine or comic book almost everytime I'm there despite doing my best not to be tempted considering the escalating prices these days. Books are not cheap in the Philippines and I think this is partly to blame for our being generally immature for our tastes in literature. I mean, honestly, how many people really do read Murakami, Rushdie or Garcia-Marquez who recently passed away? I'm all for the electronic stuff as an aid for developing reading comprehension but there's nothing like a good book or magazine to enrich the mind. 

Recently, I had been at the bookstore again months after the last time I was at the Bonifacio High Street. This time I had some time for myself as I waited for the wife to arrive from their out-of-town workshop. I was surprised to find second hand CDs at the music section and found that most if not all came from Japan. I was certain with this as I saw the CD labels and ended up browsing the CDs as I did whenever I was in one of my favorite used CD shops in Tokyo and Yokohama (e.g., Yamagiwa and Recofan). I got most of my CD collection from those shops and most of these were high quality CDs that were made in Japan or Europe including my collection of classical music CDs. I ended up purchasing a couple of CDs - one classical and another jazz to add to my collection. I was a bit disappointed though that the used CDs were not as inexpensive as I had expected them to be. I recall that good quality used CDs in Japan usually cost me 1200 JPY or the equivalent of about 300 to 400 PHP at the time I was there. So I had to make sure I really liked the CDs I picked up before finally making the purchase. 

I celebrated my purchases by getting some frozen yoghurt at the White Hat branch in the same building. The froyo and lemonade were refreshing treats before I walked back to the parking lot to wait for the wife.

Frozen yogurt and lemonade while reviewing my CD purchases.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Snacks: Pocky chocolate Midi

I like eating pretzels. But for this post I will not talk about the "Auntie Anne" type of pretzels but instead feature snacks that I usually get whenever I'm in Japan. Glico produces a line of pretzel snacks under the Pocky brand. Pocky chocolate Midi by Glico is part of their dessert line-up and features a shorter but thicker stick. The chocolate is also more generous compared to its regular Pocky sticks (the regular ones in the red box and the bitter variety in the green boxed Men's Pocky).

Pocky chocolate Midi boxes contained 12 sticks.
A description of each chocolate covered pretzel stick is stated at the back of the box.
There are 3 packs of 4 sticks each inside the box so one doesn't have to feel obliged to consume all 12 sticks in one sitting.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snacks: Pocky sticks

A favorite snack whenever I am in Japan are pretzel sticks that go under Glico's Pocky brand. The regular Pockys are in a red box and feature crunchy sticks covered with milk chocolate. There are also variants with strawberry flavored chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate with almonds. However, my favorite is the Men's Pocky variety, which is the variant with bitter chocolate. These come in their distinctive green boxes. 

Featured in this post is a new product that I found in a neighborhood grocery store in my most recent trip to Tokyo. These were longer sticks than the usual and the box contained 2 packs of pretzels.

"Big" means "longer" pretzels than the regular Pockys. The inset on the packaging indicates a new or improved
More details on the pretzel sticks - unfortunately, everything is in Japanese so you can figure out perhaps only the nutritional information because of the numbers and units provided.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Macadamia Nut Butter

On a recent trip to Bangkok, I decided to browse a familiar shop inside Suvarnabhumi Airport. The shop was one of a few that carried products of companies or groups that have the patronage of the Royal Family of Thailand. These are not your Jim Thompsons or King Powers but something like an outlet for local products much like the One Town One Product (OTOP) stores we have in the Philippines. I was checking if they had those stone mugs from Chiang Mai that we bought more than a decade ago when the Clairvoyant and I were on our honeymoon in Bangkok. Though I found none of this or other similar items, one product did catch my attention - jars of macadamia nut spread.

After learning about and finally tasting the much hyped cookie butter spreads people were raving about last year, I was quite curious about this macadamia nut spread. I wasn't quite impressed with cookie butter but I like peanut butter and, of course, nutella, which is basically chocolate and hazelnut. We love macadamias so I thought this couldn't go wrong.

Chunky macadamia nut spread by Do Tung
Do Tung Development Project is a company under Royal Patronage
Information on the jar states that the macadamias used in the spread were grown in once barren mountains of Do Tung, which are located in the infamous Golden Triangle.
More information on the product
The chunky macadamia nut spread looks like fresh chunky peanut butter.
Out verdict on the macadamia nut spread is that for us, it's better than cookie butter. The Clairvoyant still likes peanut butter more but in my case, I think macadamia nut butter is better and has that distinctive taste of macadamia we love. There's no cheating here and the spread's definitely a delight. I will definitely get more of this the next time I'm in Bangkok.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

J.Co donuts

I have wondered about the long queues at J.Co stores in the malls. I was told by friends that their donuts are really good. And so when J.Co opened a branch near our office, I decided to get a box we could share during merienda at the office. I didn't get the exact names of each of the doughnut variants though I did remember a couple that were called Al Capone, and reputedly the best selling doughnut from J.Co.

A box of 12 donuts is priced at 350 PhP but you can get 2 boxes for 550 PhP.
Al Capone
I forget what this one is called but it is a delight because of the nuts
What attracts a lot of people to buy J.Co is the variety with some doughnut concoctions being quite daring in the combination of ingredients.

The verdict is that their donuts are really good. Personally though, I prefer the classic glazed donuts of Krispy Kreme over J.Co's version. Of course, I would always prefer the freshly made regular sugar raised or sprinkled donuts like the one we used to buy in the old Rustan's in Cubao or Unimart in Greenhills. These were guilty pleasures from my childhood.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Late night snacks

I have this bad habit of eating snacks late in the evening and after dinner. Of course, these are mostly junk food that I eat while watching TV or a movie on DVD. I also like to munch while working late on some paper or report that I'm writing, usually to meet a deadline the following day. My favorite snacks would be barbecue or cheese flavored junk. As I have lived in Japan and Singapore for some time, I discovered some pretty good snack food there and miss these from time to time. Fortunately, I can satisfy that "longing" for these snacks through my travels.

Meiji chocolate milk is something I've enjoyed whenever I'm in Japan. Quite honestly, I think it tastes better than similar products currently available in the Philippines. Is it a sign of a deterioration in product quality for our local products or just my preference? Anyhow, I don't classify this as junk but more as something to help me sleep well at night.
Another Meiji product that I've mentioned in one of the old posts is this cheese flavored corn snack - Karu or Karl. Outside Japan, I can only find this snack in regular supermarkets in Bangkok. In other cities, you'll find this only at Japanese themed stores. Of course, it helps that the MBK mall has a Tokyu store so Japanese snacks are available there.


Sunday, September 22, 2013


There was this craze about cookie butter spread recently, and friends and relatives have been raving about it as better than peanut butter or nutella. Relatives even asked people in the US to bring home some jars of the popular variant from Trader Joe's. We were supposed to have one jar among the pasalubong but was not able to get it due to a mix up in schedules.

I found Belgium Treasure Biscrips Crunchy and Tasty Speculoos Spread at a nearby supermarket as I was doing my groceries. Curious as I have not tasted this spread, I decided to get a jar. I did remember that speculoos did not originate in the US but in Europe. Biscrips is a product of Belgium, which makes a lot of goodies including delicious cookies and, of course, chocolate. The spread is said to have originated in Belgium and so I guess the jar I bought at the supermarket pretty much represents a high quality sample of the spread.

Belgium Treasure Biscrips Crunchy and Tasty Speculoos Spread
Information on the label includes ingredients of this popular spread
Looks like rich peanut butter or nutella but tastes like moist, freshly baked cookies
I'm not sure if I loved the taste of speculoos. I think I still prefer peanut butter or nutella but there is something about the spread that's probably addictive to some given that it is essentially good cookies turned into a spread. I guess the jury is still out there regarding the craze on speculoos but so far I think its just one of those fads that will eventually pass. There should, however, be a market for the spread as people will from time to time crave for cookie butter for their snacks.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eurobake Original Inipit

After featuring delicious yema cake from Quezon, I thought it was just right to write about another kind of cake. This one comes in bite size and despite its sweetness, is a favorite snack or merienda and goes well with coffee or perhaps even tea. Inipit, literally and roughly translated as "squeezed in between," consists of a sweet milk-based filling spread between two thin slices of cake. I think the best ones typically melt in your mouth due to the moistness of the cake. The filling can be creamy or chunky depending on the maker, but tastes much like yema though some can be buttery in consistency.

My brother was recently in Bulacan and bought a few boxes of inipit at a popular bakeshop that's famous for its old fashioned ensaymada pastry. People go to Eurobake in Malolos, Bulacan to buy their ensaymada for pasalubong (souvenir). I got to take home one box and I can say that the "original" is still better than the mass produced stuff by the more commercial bakeshops that are being sold at most supermarkets. These come in individual packs that can be given as baon (i.e., snacks for recess) for school children.

A box of Eurobake's original inipit from Malolos, Bulacan
The inipit slices are arranged inside the box and covered only by a plastic sheet. Its packaging obviously has implications on the longevity of the inipit so I quickly put the box in the refrigerator so it will last longer.
Up close, the filling looks just like yema or the sweet core of the brazo de mercedes. I think the sweetness is just right and it tasted closer to brazo than yema. There are no serving size information on the box (typical of many local products) but I suggest a maximum of 2 slices only since it is still quite potent in terms of sugar content.

As I continue my travels, I will try to feature more of these including perhaps the various kakanin that's popular around the country.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


We had some local, native treats for merienda (snacks) last weekend at my in-laws. This consisted of fruits (rambutan), puto and kutsinta (rice cakes), assorted nuts, and taho. It was the hot taho that we enjoyed a lot when we were kids. It's usually sold by roving vendors and is made of soya. Added to the soya is arnibal, which is made of caramelized sugar or syrup and vanilla, and sago or tapioca pearls.

Taho, which is made of soya, is sweetened with arnibal and sprinkled with sago.
Rambutan, taho, puto, kutsinta, and assorted nuts and peas.