Every culture has their snacks, each with their own unique flavor profiles. Equally, we've all had our favorite childhood snacks where we're hit with waves of nostalgia every time we eat them again. For me, that is where Korean snacks come in.

For me, shopping for Korean snacks was always a mission that I looked forwards to in my family's visits to our local Asian supermarket, which wasn't really that often. We only really went when my mom was running low on rice or a particular sauce and so with the power of my *stunning* puppy dog eyes and *adorable* pout, I often was able to snag a couple of things for me along with our necessities.

More so and not, I would rip open a bag or box inside the car after we checked out because I normally could not wait to get home before I could eat the snacks that I rarely got to eat. Hence, I've always associated these snacks with good memories and I'm always hit with buckets of nostalgia every time I rip open a package of these now.

Red Bean Popsicle (비비빅)

These are red bean popsicles, which I know sounds really weird considering beans and ice cream aren't typically a pair that you picture together. But hear me out on this, this popsicle is absolutely delicious. Most of the pop is composed of sweet sugar syrup with actual whole red beans frozen into it. The smooth cylindrical shape allows for easy eating, and its definitely a treat you have to try within your lifetime.

Because of the fact that there are eight per box, whenever we get these my mom, my dad, my sister and I have to guard our 2 designated popsicles carefully. There have most definitely been fights over these in my household and so mine tend to be smushed behind bags of frozen meats and berries to keep unfriendly hands away. These can be found in a box in the ice cream section of your local Asian supermarket or individually packed in iceboxes.

Melon Bar

If the idea of red beans and popsicles are off putting, then these are the perfect option for you. Theses ice pops are honeydew melon flavored and super creamy, fruity and refreshingly sweet. There are actually multiple versions of this treat out on the market with the most popular being Binggrae's MELONA or Assi's Melon Bar, but the basic tastes are pretty much the same.

MELONA actually carries multiple flavors besides its namesake melon, like strawberry or mango, which are also super yummy and worth checking out. However, the classic melon flavor ice pops are the most popular in Korea, to the point where your local Target or Walmart might actually be carrying them. If not, you can always count on your local Asian supermarket and their frozen aisle.

Onion Flavored Rings (양파링)

I may be a little biased for this one because I love these chips so much. When I was around eight, I remember eating entire bags of these on the way home from the grocery store. The whole bag. Within 15 minutes. I was only eight years old. But nostalgia aside, these chips can definitely be a polarizing topic.

They don't really have a strong flavor, only having a very mild taste, which makes it possible to eat the entire bag in one sitting. Although they don't taste anything at all like fried onion rings, they are equally as crunchy and satisfactory. Additionally, these chips are vegan! Even just for the sake of curiosity, you should definitely try picking up these chips if you happen to run into them at your local Asian grocery store.

Mong Shell (몽쉘)

If you've heard of or love the beloved Choco Pie, you will surely love these. Mong Shells by Lotte are like upgraded Choco Pies which, for those who don't know, are chocolate covered cream pies.

Topped with a decadent drizzle, these pies are slightly firmer than the soft and rather melty Choco Pies, (but seriously, why do they melt so easily?!) and come in a wide range of flavors ranging from strawberry, peanut and limited edition chestnut. I am a traditionalist, so I definitely prefer the classic chocolate flavor, but the other flavors are definitely worth the try.

Spicy Shrimp Flavored Cracker (매운 새우깡)

Lots of people are familiar with shrimp chips, aka mild little crunchy rods of happiness, across many different cultures throughout Asia. But the "spicy" version of these chips, in my opinion, are better because they give a much stronger flavor. In actuality though, these aren't spicy at all and they are closer in spice to red Doritos than flaming hot Cheetos. These are one of those shareable snacks that my family always has on hand to eat as snacks after school or to replace the role of popcorn on movie night.

Honey Butter Chip (허니버터칩)

When these first came out in Korea, literal riots occurred. People waited in lines for hours and these chips were sold out everywhere and at the height of their popularity, they were as rare as Willy Wonka's golden tickets. What followed was a a potato chip black market and a trend to make honey butter everything, ranging from coated almonds to fried chicken. 

They are definitely worth checking out if you see them but they might be hard to find in America, which is why I made a particular effort to find them in Korea when I visited recently. I wasn't really sold on the taste in Korea but luckily, Trader Joe's actually makes a cunning replica that is significantly less sweet than the original to which I actually prefer.

Honey Twist Snack (꽈배기)

The first time I had these chips were at church when I was around seven or eight. All I remember from the experience was the overwhelming astonishment that I had upon this heavenly crunch, immediately running over to my mom and demanding that she buys these ASAP.

Although the package says so, these chips actually carry no apple flavor but they make up for it with its use of honey. The chips are subtly coated in honey, but not in a way that makes them sticky, which makes them wonderfully sweet and crunchy. My little brother and I are fanatics for these chips, usually finishing a whole bag in between us whenever we watch TV.

Squid Peanut Chips (오징어 땅콩)

This is probably one of the weirdest chips you're ever going to see: squid peanut chips. I know this sounds revolting but hear me out on this. These chips don't actually taste like squid or anything close to it. They actually taste more of the peanut that is encased inside, with the crunchy outside carrying more of the deep nutty flavor than anything else the name of these chips might suggest. My parents love these chips, splitting a bag between them when we took our long road trip to New York a couple years ago and their bickering over the last chip are one of my fondest memories of that entire trip. However, because of the nature of the chip, it can be hard to find even in Asian supermarkets. The best place to find these would be to order online or to go to a Korean specialty grocery store.

Banana Milk (바나나 우유)

This another one of the iconic symbols of the Korean snack world. Banana milk has become practically a staple food in Korean culture. This drink is about 80% milk, giving it a rich and creamy yet slightly sweet taste from the banana. The banana flavoring itself was created when the Korean government wanted to encourage milk drinking in the 1970's. Because bananas were considered a luxury ingredient, Binggrae thought that by adding this flavor, consumers would buy it to try the exotic fruit. Needless to say, the rest is history as it currently resides as a popular drink both in and out of Korea. (it even has its own app!)

Yogurt Drink (요그르트)

These yogurt drinks are familiar to many people across cultures, not just Koreans. Many different brands across Asia make a version of this drink and to me, they all bring the same nostalgia to me whenever I rip open the seal. This yogurt drink is milky yet sweet, it's not at all sour like one would expect from eating regular yogurt. I would always try to sneak past my mom when she was preparing dinner to snag one from the freezer, only to be caught and having to swear that I would still have the appetite for dinner. I say freeze because my family's favorite way to eat these were to actually freeze them instead of drinking them straight out of the bottle. You then take the frozen bottle, rip open the top part of the plastic to expose the frozen drink and eat it almost like a popsicle. 

Snacks are an essential part of anyone's daily indulgences and cultural snacks are always fun to try or nostalgic to eat again. Korean snacks are no exception, any of the unique chips and drinks stand out and are always worth checking out. I know that for me, whenever I enter my local Asian supermarket to pick these up, I have the same giddy child-like excitement to eat them all over.