I put Cookie Monster to shame when it comes to my sweet tooth. So I decided to take advantage of Bloomington’s amazing diversity and try out some candies from the other side of the globe at B-Town’s International Market. Now, I know from candy corn that just because it’s called ‘candy’ doesn’t mean it’s actually good, but I still had high hopes. Call me adventurous, but I needed to know what candy from other cultures tasted like. I dragged a friend along to the local International Market to see what the deal with foreign candy was.
We were struck by how normal it was when we first entered. It was kind of disappointing. There were cases for fresh veggies, coolers filled with frozen food. Not too different from the Kroger right next door (just a lot smaller). Upon further investigation we noticed that all of the leafy greens were foreign to us. And those weren’t normal eggs; they were quail eggs. We also couldn’t read most of the labels, but the bright photos on most of the packages helped. We wandered through most of the store before we finally found what we were really after: candy.
We probably spent twenty minutes circling the stand trying to figure out what to get. We stayed away from Pocky and Hi-Chew because they’re becoming more common in America. We eventually ended up with some tamarind candy, ‘Banana Puffs,’ wafer sticks filled with green tea paste, traditional Korean cookies and, the classic, chocolate.
We tried them all one by one, hesitant but hopeful. Here’s what we found:
Someone has some serious explaining to do for calling this candy. Just because it’s covered in sugar doesn’t make it candy. First, it’s sticky and gooey to pull out of the container – proving instantly that it’s got a weird texture. When it hits your tongue, all you can taste is the sugar. So far, so good. And then the sugar wears off and you’re hit with this awful taste. And it won’t go away. This stuck to my retainer and made my life miserable for a solid 30 minutes. My friend chugged water trying to get the taste out of her mouth. Rough start, my friends.
Just opening these was a more user-friendly experience. They have that definitely-artificial-banana-flavor smell that I personally love and my friend doesn’t mind either. We kind of cheated with these, though, we found them in the snack food aisle and had to try them.
These essentially ended up tasting like the cereal Corn Puffs, but with a banana flavored sugar coating instead of plain. They were also a lot more airy and didn’t feel like you were eating anything. The worst kind of empty calories.
The package says “Pocky’s best friend” so I naturally figured we should try it, especially in green tea flavor. By the way, a lot of the sweet treats at the market were green tea or red bean flavored.
I’ve had red bean paste before and it doesn’t exactly fall into the “sweet treat” category for me, but I was hopeful for these. Unfortunately they tasted like what you’d feed a pet guinea pig. Oddly enough, though, my friend chowed down on these. But they’re super fatty so she freaked out.
Traditional Korean Cookies
We got really excited about these simply because they said ‘traditional.’ Biting into them they seemed really plain and the texture was kind of like wet sand, very grainy and hard to stomach if you have texture issues (like me).
About halfway through you noticed that they’re not just plain, they’re PLAIN. Like so much so you can taste the fake ingredients. Gag. These were the mini cookies. I don’t know how anyone handles the full size ones. Cute label though.
Glad we saved these for last because they were a return to the comfort zone. The ‘black’ chocolate tasted like a happy medium between traditional dark chocolate and American milk chocolate. Not too bitter or too sweet. We both really enjoyed this.
The milk chocolate isn’t American milk chocolate, though. It definitely leans more towards the European style of milk chocolate. My friend didn’t like that, but I enjoyed it.
What would we recommend?
We would probably, with sound judgment, only recommend the Banana Puffs and chocolate. Nonetheless, it’s still good to try new things. And a fun experience for when you’re bored or avoiding homework.