I am back to share the rest of my Daiso snack haul and taste test with you. If you missed Part 1 of this little experiment, click the link to read more about what Daiso is and see the sweet stuff that I picked up. Part 2 will focus on the savory snacks that Tim and I chose to try. To varying degrees, we both enjoyed pretty much everything we purchased from Daiso, sweet and savory alike, with one glaring exception. I’m going to start with our one big fail to get it out of the way.
So, I don’t know what I was expecting when I chose to try these Peeled Roasted Chestnuts. Tim and I both like nuts and I eat them in both roasted and raw form, often unsalted. I was pretty excited to try chestnuts because I had never had them before, but I imagined people roasted them over an open fire all the time at Christmas while Jack Frost nipped at their noses. Perhaps the fact that I had never actually seen anyone eat a chestnut in all this time should have given me pause. It didn’t, so I dove into this bag with enthusiasm. The chestnuts felt a bit rubbery between my fingers, which surprised me. But I like water chestnuts, so how bad could these be? I made the mistake of sticking my nose in the bag and taking a big whiff, expecting that slightly sweet nutty smell that other nuts have. Nope. They smelled like meat, almost like roasted turkey. I was really starting to doubt my life choices by this point, but I soldiered on and popped one into my mouth. I’m not sure that I can accurately describe how emotionally scarring the experience of eating a chestnut was for me other than to say that, even though I spit it out within seconds, the horror lingered for several days after as the memory would hit me out of nowhere. I’ve never had food give me flashbacks before. The chestnuts had a horrible, smushy texture like a cross between a meaty mushroom and beans. They tasted like fake meat with a hint of bean paste. It was disgusting. There is a reason why there hasn’t been a song mentioning chestnuts since 1945. Tim had a similar experience with them. He had to spit his out too and promptly threw the bag away with the look of divorce in his eyes for dragging him into this in the first place. I strongly recommend avoiding the chestnuts. I’ve heard that they get better if you heat them up and taste less like meat, but that isn’t strong enough to tempt me to try them again. I mean, the same can be said of Spam, but I’m not going to eat that either. Luckily, the rest of our snacks were much better.
I really wanted to give these snow pea crisps a try. I’ve seen similar pea snacks before, but have never tasted them. The ingredient list wasn’t too bad consisting of only peas, vegetable oil, rice, salt, calcium carbonate, and vitamin C. They are a slightly healthier option than a traditional chip with less fat and sodium. The peas have the texture of a Cheeto with a nice crunch. The flavor is very mild and they mean it when they say lightly salted. If you like crunchy rice snacks, then you might like these because they are a pretty straightforward rice snack with pea powder. I thought that they were okay but they have a “healthy snack” taste, if you know what I mean. Tim was not a fan, so we probably wouldn’t get them again, but I’m glad that I tried them.
Okay, I need to pause this haul right here for a little story time. (Yay, a story!) Many many moons ago, way back in 2004, I went to England to spend some time with one of my best friends. She was studying at Oxford. While shopping for groceries one day toward the beginning of my visit we discovered shrimp crisps, which neither of us had heard of before. Both of us are a little adventurous with food, so we decided to give them a try. We grabbed a bag of the crisps and a bottle of sweet chili sauce to dip them in, and went on our merry way. It turned out that the shrimp crisps were fantastic, especially with the sauce, and we devoured the bag the same day. We must have gone through at least six bags throughout my month long visit. We just couldn’t get enough of them. When I got back stateside I tried to find something similar, but I had no luck. I found other shrimp-type chips, but they never tasted the same. Eventually I gave up hope that I would ever be able to recreate my shrimp crisp experience from Oxford and stopped trying. That is until I saw how many varieties of shrimp-type chips Daiso had on their shelves. Tim wasn’t really interested, but I was determined and figured the time had come to try one last time. It’s the Battle of the Shrimp Chips 2017. Three snacks enter, but which one (if any) will come out victorious? Let’s find out.
First up we have these Potato Crackers with Shrimp. These were my least favorite of the three. The crackers have a chewy potato wafer texture, and I thought that they tasted more like Crab than shrimp. The flavor is very mild and gets overwhelmed by the sauce (the dipping sauce is an important part of this experiment). They aren’t bad, but my biggest complaint is that they have seaweed baked onto them and I don’t like seaweed. I can handle it with sushi, but I hate seaweed snacks. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that seaweed would be a component, but when I saw the picture on the package, I thought that it was some kind of herb. I thought that they were fancy. I should have put two and two together. So, while these crackers might be great for someone else, they are definitely not for me and I won’t get them again.
Our second entrant for the battle is Calbee Shrimp Chips, Original flavor. These are pretty good. They are twisty puffed wheat snacks, basically shrimp flavored Cheetos except that they are wheat and not corn. They are crunchy, salty, and great for easy mindless snacking. The flavor doesn’t get overwhelmed by the sauce, but the stick form is hard to dip. Shrimp Chips come in a ton of flavors, so it might be fun to try more varieties. They do not taste like the original shrimp crisps that I had in Oxford, but they are tasty and I’d get them again.
The final item that we picked up from Daiso were these Prawn Crackers. You guys, I found them! I actually found the flavor I’ve been missing for the last 13 years. Of the three, these crackers definitely had the best flavor. They have a more robust flavor, which may be the difference between prawn and shrimp. The chips are not chewy and have a good crunchy texture with just a hint of the potato flavor. They are not too salty, which I like. The crackers are a large size and stand up to dipping really well. The flavor holds up and does not get overwhelmed by the sauce. The only complaint I have is that I just wish that there were more in the bag. I am so excited, and I will definitely be going back to Daiso to pick up more of these Prawn Crackers. These are great.
That brings me to the end of my huge Daiso haul. I hope that you enjoyed it. The selection was just as overwhelming for savory picks as it was for sweet. Even though Tim and I got ten things in total for this haul, it didn’t scratch the surface of what Daiso has to offer. We are definitely going to have to go back and do some more exploring. If you have a Daiso nearby, I encourage you to do the same.