Monday, May 13, 2013

Best Korean Snacks: My Korean Snack Haul

I was dating a Korean guy for about three years, so I thought I knew almost everything about their culture and most importantly their snacks. But as it turned out, after my friend returned from his 2-year teaching stint in Korea with a suitcase full of treats for me, I realized that there's always more to learn, and eat!

During our three years together, my boyfriend introduced me to a multitude of Korean snacks and dishes like bulgogi, bimpap and my favorite, naeg-myeon also known as cold noodle soup. Then of course there's kimchi which I will just snack on straight from the jar. My first time in the Korean grocery superstore H-Mart, which is sporadically located around the USA, was amusing to my then boyfriend who watched as I explored the shelves like an alien exploring his surroundings after a crash-landing to Earth. After he patiently dealt with my constant "What's this" about almost every item, we emerged from the store with things I couldn't wait to try, and things that I had no idea what to do with.

Fast-forward to three years later, I can navigate the aisles of  the store exceptionally well, grabbing what I need and want without hesitation. But when my friend showed up with all sorts of new Korean goodies I looked like an amateur again as I investigated the freshly-exported goods.

A few hours after delivery, I had to stop myself from eating everything so I could take a picture and share my  favorites from the Korean haul.

Up first are what I'm calling White Heim (in the purple) and Choco Heim (in the brown) by Crown. These are absolutely delicious and feel incredibly sinful with out being too much of burden on your belt.

Crown's White and Choco Heim
Apparently these are available at H-Mart, but I haven't seen them or maybe somehow I just passed over the inconspicuous box they come in. But either way, I'm so glad my friend brought them because they're amazing. Thin, crispy wafers cover the cream-filled center that bursts with flavor the second it's bit in to.

While I like both, my favorite is the White Heim which is what Crown calls 'White cream wafers with hazelnuts'. The thick, milky center tastes like a combination of sweet vanilla,whipping cream and a touch of hazelnut and trust me, it's all delicious  The chocolate version isn't as flavorful and while it's still good if I had to chose just one, the White Heim would definitely win this match-up.

Even though I was familiar with this traditional snack known as 'pepero', I wasn't aware of just how many varieties of them were available. Peperos are normally given out to sweethearts in a holiday similar to our own Valentine's Day throughout Korea. Truth be told, I'd much rather get these from my secret admirer than those chalky little hearts. While the most common peperos consist of a very light pretzel dipped in chocolate, my friend brought me ones that had almond bits mixed into the chocolate and my new favorite: one that had chocolate on the inside only.

The regular, chocolate-dipped version is widely available online and at H-Mart and they're usually about a dollar. The calories are pretty high on these so try to avoid slamming a whole pack in one sitting-like I do.

Korean Pepero


While these aren't new to me either, I thought I'd share this snack with everyone because of just how healthy and fun these are to eat. First off, I must warn you that there's a slight fishy taste on these, but I think that's to be expected of something that's made of dried seaweed. 

These crispy little sheets of dried seaweed, also known as 'gim' to Koreans, are often seasoned with some sort of heart-healthy oil and various spices. They have a toasty flavor that combines nicely with the seasonings to make a chip-like snack that contains way more health benefits and way less calories. Seaweed not only contains 10-20 times the mineral concentration of land plants, but it also has extremely high amounts of protein and fiber. 

The only thing you have  to worry about after eating these healthy snacks is how many green flecks you have stuck in your teeth.


My favorite newly-found item is a light and airy rice biscuit from Crown called 'cham ssal sun gwa' which can be very loosely translated into 'rice cookie' and at 25 calories per pack (2 per), I don't feel that badly about eating so many of these cookies, because it's impossible to stop if they're still in eyesight.

Why are these so good? The flavor is absolutely amazing. It's a sweet, salty, spicy combination topped off with a hint of what I can only decipher as onion powder. I've never tasted anything like them before but I will be searching high and low to find them again in the states. 


I was also given a different type of rice cracker by Crown called "cham ssal ssul pyung" which have a very mild sweet side. While they look like they're drenched in frosting, the topping seems to add more appearance-wise than to the taste. While one side is sweet, the other side almost has a sourdough note to it, so it's a bit of an acquired taste but I think that most people would like these after the second pack. They're like a song that isn't really good until you hear it the second or third time. Enticing, I know. 


Asian countries get all these wacky flavors and we're stuck here to wallow in our sour cream, cheddar and original flavor sadness. While Japan  has orange Kit-Kats®  among a myriad of other flavors, Korea is no stranger to unusual flavors of Doritos® .

My friend left me with the extreme barbecue Doritos®  and while that doesn't sound too unique right off the bat, there's a picture of pork ribs smothered in sauce in the corner to throw you off. While we're used to certain flavor characteristics when something is called "barbecue", Korean Doritos®  took an unexpected turn by having more in common with their American Cool Ranch counterparts than our regular BBQ chips.

While there is a smokey note, they also have a sweetness and tang that don't translate into the same American barbecue flavor we're used to.
Extreme Barbecue Doritos® 
Well that's my opinion on my freshly-imported Korean snack haul, now tell me yours!
If you've had some amazing Korean snacks let me know about them! If you've had any of the ones I've mentioned above I'd like to know your opinion on them too!