Monday, July 15, 2019

10 Second Kitchen - Street Cart On Suramarit Blvd

Not all restaurants are in buildings, some are sitting next to traffic.

Find out where this cart normally is on our Candy Critic map.


Classic Candies I Haven’t Reviewed And Why

Mounds - Mounds is a classic American candy bar. It’s often associated with another classic American candy bar, the Almond Joy. The difference between these two bars is very simple, almonds. The mounds bar is a coconut bar covered in chocolate; the Almond Joy is exactly the same bar only with a couple of whole almonds on top. The reason I’ve only reviewed the Almond Joy, and not the mounds, is that I really don’t like coconut that much, but I’m pretty fond of almonds. Every time I’m in the USA and I see a Mounds bar, I always see something else better that I’d rather eat, something that isn’t just two lumps of sickly-sweet coconut with a thin layer of chocolate.

Jolly Ranchers - Jolly Ranchers are a fairly well known American hard candy that comes in several flavours. The flavours are very powerful, and the candy is a little sticky. There are several flavours of Jolly Rancher, but two of them stick to my mind, watermelon and cherry. Cherry sticks to my mind because I really like it, I’d go so far as to say that cherry Jolly Ranchers are my favourite cherry candy that I can think of. Watermelon comes to mind because I can hold it up as an example of why watermelon candies are the worst.  The reason I’ve never reviewed them is a geographical problem. Jolly Ranchers are fairly rare outside of the USA, they’re even hard to find in Canada. When I go to America, I often can’t find Jolly Ranchers in one particular flavour either, most notably I never find just cherry. I don’t want to review watermelon Jolly Ranchers before I review the cherry ones, that would seem just wrong. So, I’m waiting for the day when the stars align and I can get a bag of cherry only Jolly Ranchers.

Classic Juicy Fruit - Juicy Fruit is a classic gum that’s been around as long as I know. A while back they changed the format of their gum from a long chewy stick to something that resembles a Chicklet. When this new format came out, I decided that I would do a review, and it did okay, but it wasn’t spectacular. It tasted fine, but as was the same with the classic stick format, the flavour didn’t last very long. I mentioned this fact and then got an email from someone at Wrigley’s, they were not happy. In fact, they were downright mean to me. Since then I’ve seen that they’ve brought back the chewy stick format of the gum (a format that I actually prefer), but I still haven’t reviewed it. Every time I see it on the shelf, I think about that person telling me off, and I think that I don’t really want to go through that again. Sure, that person may not even work at Wrigley’s any more, but who knows.

Milka - Of all of the candies on this list, this is the one that's a little harder to explain why I haven’t done the review. Milka is a brand of milk chocolate bars from Europe, I'm not really sure where they originated from, but you can find them in many countries all over Europe. As the name would suggest, the chocolate is generally milk chocolate, and it seems to have a dairy theme. In fact, I've seen many an airport display of Milka chocolate bars displayed on giant purple cows (I can't explain why they're purple). To say that I've never tried any Milka bar is also not true, the thing is I have yet to review their classic milk chocolate, with nothing added. Of all of the other candy mentioned in this article, this is the only one that I can't even say that I've ever tried it. I've tasted it in combination with other ingredients, and used to flavour other things (like cream cheese), but I can't say that I've ever actually eaten a plain milk chocolate Milka bar. I'm not really sure why this is, likely because when the interesting variations present themselves, I become distracted. I guess I might eventually give this bar a try, but it's completely possible that it never happens.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

10 Second Kitchen - Street 244 and Street 19

Drying meat in the sun is a common occurrence in Cambodia. I've been tempted to try eating the results some time, but frankly I'm not sure if my stomach could handle it.

Find out where we shot this video on our Candy Critic map.


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Monday, July 08, 2019

10 Second Kitchen - Sovanna

This is actually one of the most popular restaurants in Cambodia, every night the streets fill up just to get a table here.

Make sure to check out the candy map to find out where this is.


The Food Trend You’ve Never Heard Of - Salted Egg

Food trends are like all trends today, they appear on social media or television, then suddenly they’re at every restaurant and part of every snack as big name brands try to capitalize on them. These trends don’t often disappear, but they die down a bit. At one point every bakery specialized in cupcakes, now there are still many places that make them, but few specialize in them. Sriracha was once the hot sauce of choice on everything, it’s still popular, but it’s not a Krispy Kreme doughnut flavour. We tend to think of these trends as global phenomenon, where the entire world is discovering, and eventually getting sick of this trendy food all together. This can be the case, but it’s not always.

Salted eggs are a traditional Chinese food that was adapted into the snacking world, and is now taking parts of Asia by storm. A salted egg is an egg that is brined and soft boiled. It gives the egg a salty flavour perfect for a snack or as a side dish. A few years ago, a few industrious companies in Singapore started to discover ways to turn this simple salty egg into a crunchy snack. Their solution was a little un-orthodox from a western standpoint, but it became a hit. The new snack took these salted eggs, turned them into a batter, and used them to coat fish skins. These fish skins would then be deep fried, and turned into a crunchy snack.
Salted egg fish skins gained in popularity, and became a go to snack in Singapore. The main producer of these salted egg fish skins was a company called Irvins. They made this snack something more than just a salty treat, they would have lines out the doors of their stores, and would actually sell out of product before the end of the day. My first encounter with salted egg fish skins came about when I was flying through the airport in Singapore. Irvins had just opened a branch of their store in the airport, and I was perplexed about why it wasn't even open in the middle of the day. I was actually more perplexed about who would want to eat something called "salted egg fish skins".  Apparently, they had run out of stock that day and closed shop. On my way back from my trip, I again stopped in the Singapore airport and Irvins was open, and the lineup was huge. People were buying giant bags of these fish skins, and I had no idea what the deal was.

After this stop through I decided to learn a little more about this snack, and I discovered that this was one of the great hidden gems of Singapore, and people would seek out Irvins and get their salted egg fish skin fix. At first, I discounted this as just a weird trend in a particular country. Sometimes foods in a particular country will become trendy, but only locally, and to the occasional foodie that might be passing through. About a year later I happen to be visiting Singapore, and I decided to indulge in this trend. By this time there were a few companies making these fish skins, and I also discovered a few places (Irvins included) were selling salted egg potatoes (these are basically potato chips instead of fish skins). While I was in Singapore, I sampled some of this fish skins (and even wrote a review). I wasn't blown away at how great they tasted, but they were kind of unique.
At this point I still figured that this was a niche Singapore thing, and nothing more. It was fun to eat, but I figured I wouldn't hear about them again, unless I went back to Singapore. Then something weird happened. I was walking through a store in Cambodia, and I saw salted egg fish skins. Huh, I thought. I was a little surprised to see them, but not convinced that it was a full on trend. I say this because Cambodia generally doesn't have much of a snack (or candy) creating scene. Most of the snacks in Cambodia are just imports or copies of imports from other parts of Asia, with a few Australian and North American treats thrown in. Don't get me wrong, there are some great foods in Cambodia, they're just not into making original snacks right now. While seeing these salted egg fish skins in Cambodia tweaked my interest, I wasn't convinced.
Then last week (about 6 months after discovering them in Cambodia) I went to Bangkok, and my mind was blown. Bangkok is a place that is loaded with trendy stores, cafes, and restaurants. I would say that it's one of those cities that seems to really be into trendy things, and last week Bangkok was really into salted egg. The stores were packed to the gills with salted egg fish skins and potatoes, but there was more. I started to notice international brands jumping on this trend. Most notably I saw a bag of salted egg Lay's potato chips. This is when you know something is more than a niche local trend, when a large brand jumps into the game.
But this wasn't the only example. In Thailand (and I imagine in other parts of South East Asia (and maybe further) salted egg is becoming a flavour that every food company wants to be a part of. I found salted egg ice cream, salted egg meals, and even salted egg doughnuts at Krispy Kreme. It was as if everyone wanted to be a part of this new food trend. I couldn't resist trying out a salted egg doughnut, it was surprisingly good. Having said that I was expecting it to be horrible, so even partially good would have been an improvement.
Seeing as I'm still living in South East Asia, I'm not sure if this trend is moving outside of this area (although apparently the cheese doughnut I thought I ate at Tim Horton's in China was actually salted egg). I think the salted egg trend would work all over the world. I think North America and Europe could get on the salted egg train too. I think Krispy Kreme and ice cream companies may have a hard sell for this, beyond it being a novelty, but I think chip companies would do really well. Maybe the fish skins might not be very popular, but the salted egg potatoes would be a big hit.

This trend could spread, and it could be something we see all over the globe, or it might just be an "Asian thing". I hope not, because it's not often that you get something that's just a little weird, but actually works, and I'd really like my friends to be able to try this flavour out.


Friday, July 05, 2019

Candy In The Media - Ring Pops Are Useful

I always thought Ring Pops were about looking fancy, this commercial proves they're functional too.


Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Tom's Look At The Visual Side Of Snacks And Candy - Disney Evian Water

Hey all. This time around, let’s look at a meeting of a pair of iconic commercial forces. First, it’s pretty likely most everyone reading this knows who the characters depicted in the photo below are. Classic Disney characters! Looking closer, you’ll notice the Evian logo near the bottom of the bottle. Evian is a pretty big name in the bottled water business.
Notice that the bottles deviate quite drastically from the traditional Evian bottle. This was most certainly done to give better identification to the distinct look of the Disney characters’ design.
I got curious about the association of Evian with the Disney cartoon characters and went briefly into an Internet rabbit hole. Thanks to a comment from Candy Critic’s Chris, you’ll all be spared the convoluted babbling that ensued. Let’s just admire the unique bottle design and the fun, exuberant colours of Daisy, Mickey and Goofy!


Make sure to check out Tom's amazing Instagram feed featuring his great art. Also be sure to pick up one of Tom's exclusive Candy Critic t-shirts.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The Month Begins With Some Of My Thoughts

In this episode of our Monthly Morning Breakfast thoughts, I talk about some news, like the Cheetos swimwear line and Canada Post's new dessert themed stamps. I also talk about some of the new blogs coming to this very blog throughout July. But best of all I talk about a new cookie I invented, and tell you how you can get the recipe.

If you want to keep up with all our videos, make sure to follow us on YouTube.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out what we're working on.


Monday, July 01, 2019

Today We Eat A Classic European Bar - Lion

I think what amazes me most about this bar is the fact that most people in North America have no idea that it exists. It's the kind of bar that I think people in North America would love, but you really don't find it around at all. Maybe there's some kind of stealth technology attached to this bar, maybe it falls under the radar of anybody in North America, after all, it took years for me to finally get around to reviewing it.

Click here to find out what  you're missing, if you're North American.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Canadian Candy That I Love - Part 5 - Cherry Blossom

I once wrote a piece for a newspaper claiming that this is the most Canadian snack ever made. While it's not my favourite Canadian candy, I still stand by that piece I wrote. This candy is weird, and it combines some classic ingredients to make a better whole. That's pretty much the best way to describe the country that I call home.

Click here to read my review.


Candy In The Media - Mickey and Minnie Mouse In Thailand

I can't say enough about this amazing cartoon. First of all, I'm a huge fan of the new direction Disney has taken with Mickey Mouse cartoons, I love the look and I really enjoy the stories. Secondly, I love the fact that this entire cartoon is in Thai, no English at all, and you can still follow the story.  Finally, the fact that the subject is near to my heart, street food, really makes this one of the best cartoons I've seen in a while.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Canadian Candy That I Love - Part 4 - Oh Henry

This is another bar that was my go to bar for a few years. It's also the bar that I used to rip apart the most when I ate it. I used to munch off the chocolate and peanuts exposing a log of chewy fudge to eat at the end. The commercial below tells me that I wasn't the only person doing this either.

Click here to read my review.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Canadian Candy That I Love - Part 3 - Wunderbar

For a few years, the Wunderbar was my bar of choice. It wasn't found around town as easily as other bars, but once I had a source I would buy them out. It's a really unique bar that doesn't have anything inherently Canadian about it, but for some reason it still reminds me of home.

Click here to read my review.


It's Time For Another Episode Of Junk Fud On The Road - The Netherlands

Holland, is one of the nicest places you can visit. It's full of nature, cool people, and cool people walking through nature. It's also a great place to eat some really fine food. The Netherlands is a country where almost everything you eat feels safe from a North American perspective. It's likely because much of the food from that area is part of the culture in North America as well.

Click here to check out old episodes of Junk Fud On The Road.

And make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with what we're up to right now.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Canadian Candy That I Love - Part 2 - Crispy Crunch

This classic Canadian candy bar can best be described as similar to a Butterfinger, only much, much better. It's also the candy bar that my dad would pick up every time we'd go out to get some treats (which was often). This is a candy bar that brings me back to my childhood every time I taste it.

Click here to check out my review.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Canadian Candy That I Love - Part 1 - Caramilk

To help celebrate Canada Day (July 1st), all this week I'm going to look at some of my favourite Canadian candies.  There's no better Canadian candy to start with than the Caramilk bar. There are a few Canadian things that I think everyone in the world should try, Tim Horton's, Swiss Chalet Chicken, and a Caramilk bar.

Click here to read my Caramilk bar review.


Candy Packaging Is Kind Of Important - Pop It! Chocoballs

One of the debates I have with myself when it comes to reviewing candy is weather or not I should consider the candy's package. In some cases it seems vitally important to mention it because it's part of the candy, but most of the time it's not really that important, but it might be the reason I bought the candy in the first place. The two reasons I buy a candy is either because I had heard of it somewhere else (either a friend or the internet may have mentioned it), or because the package has attracted me.

It could be as simple as the correct words on a package, "lasagna potato chips" for example, or it could be some kind of creepy cartoon on the package. Sometimes it's the little  window on the package that shows me what the candy looks like. I think I'm just going to have to start dropping this whole idea of not reviewing a candy based on its package. It will likely never be the focus of the review, but I think it's an important part of any candy.

Click here to read about a candy package that  confused me enough to buy the candy.

Also make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as we often look at strange snacks packages we find there.


Friday, June 21, 2019

Candy In The Media - Reese The Movie

I'm not sure if I'm missing something, or I'm just too old, but I managed to sit through this movie for about 15 minutes. Let me know if you make it further, and what I missed.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It's Time For A New Episode Of In Hindsight, Today We Look At The Coffee Crisp

In this episode of In Hindsight I eat the classic Canadian candy bar, the Coffee Crisp. It's been a really long time since I wrote the Coffee Crisp review on Candy Critic, and it's even been a while since I've eaten a Coffee Crisp just for fun. This is just a bar that I rarely ever crave unless it's sitting in front of me.

Click here to read the original Coffee Crisp review.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

It's A New Chip Review, And It's Not Great - Lay’s Cooling Sensation "Melon Bingsu Flavor"

Today's new review is one that you'd think would be obvious. It's obvious that it shouldn't work, I mean it's melon flavoured, menthol potato chips. Sometimes I get snacks like this and I'm surprised that it does actually work, this was not one of those times. I ate these chips, and they were pretty gross. They're so gross that I couldn't finish the entire bag (it was a small bag as well). I didn't throw them out though, I have some friends coming over this weekend for a round of Pandemic, and they're going to get to sample the worst chips ever made.

As an added bonus, this Thursday I'll be posting another review of another "cooling sensation" flavour of Lay's potato chips. I have a little more hope that these won't be nearly as gross, but I'm not totally confident.

Click here to read about the worst chips I've ever eaten.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tom's Look At The Visual Side Of Snacks And Candy - Green Tea Melty Kiss

Hello again!

It’s time for another look at candy and snack packaging! This time, I want to show an example of a stunning example of the kind of elaborate and beautiful packaging at which the Japanese excel. The product is called ‘Melty Kiss’ and I initially got it thinking it was a chocolate green tea. It’s actually chocolate square with green tea filling. They were a delicious surprise. Once the box was emptied, the box deserved thorough examination for the attention to detail and production values involved. First up is a photo looking inside the empty cavity that held the wrapped treats. The designers coloured the inside a deep brown, likely to evoke the chocolate of the treat itself. As well, graphic symbols of hearts and snowflakes float in the rich void.
The second picture shows the text of the inside flap that covers the chamber for the chocolates. Again, the graphic snowflake motif repeats to accent the text and the name of the product. I’m sure the text describes the chocolates in poetic terms though that’s my guess alone.
The third photo is not as sharp as I’d hoped but hopefully it still conveys the beautifully photographed green tea texture.
The green tea texture photo and the large snowflake on the pale green background are from panels of the box as is the photo that shows two images of the ‘Melty Kiss’, one with a cross-section to show the green tea centre. 
The snowflake theme carries into this panel.
Next is a visual feast with a tastefully composed overhead view of a foamy cup of green tea (more visual texture) and a carefree scattering of ‘Melty Kiss’ chocolates overlaid with a single green tea leaf. The upper portion of the image is actually the back of the box which flows over a fold and carries onto the top and lid of the box.
Finally, here’s a look at the wonderful green metallic ink that was added to the embossed ‘Melty Kiss’ logo and the snowflakes on the top panel. It’s just the right amount of ‘bling’ to add an extra touch of visual appeal.
Though it’s not part of the mandate of this column, I will report that the chocolates were every bit as luxurious as the package. If you see these and like green tea and chocolate, I highly recommend ‘Melty Kiss’.


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Friday, June 07, 2019

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Doing Disney and Shanghai

Our trip to Shanghai consisted of two parts... sort of. The first part of the trip was a brief morning and afternoon in Shanghai proper. Our flight landed at 5am and our hotel at Disneyland wasn't going to let us check in until 3pm. We could have headed straight to the Disneyland park if we wanted to, but we had two more full days planned for them, and we knew that we would be getting off of our flight exhausted. We decided instead to focus the first part of our trip on exploring the city of Shanghai a little. We started in the Bund, because it was the only thing open that early in the morning.
On our way to the Bund from the train station we stopped at McDonald's, Allison got a coffee, and I sampled one of the pies (as I usually do on trips abroad). The specialty pie in China appears to be a taro pie. Taro is basically purple sweet potato. This was a great pie to start your day because the taro filling isn't overly sweet. It was also nice that it was deep fried, since most McDonald's in other parts of the world bake their pies now. This was the perfect start up for our day of wandering around Shanghai.
For the most part our adventure that day was just wandering around various neighbourhoods. If you're in Shanghai and you're looking for a place to pick up traditional treats and snacks, one neighbourhood we discovered is Yuyuan Market. It's a traditional looking market with many traditional and modern Chinese desserts and snacks. It's not only a great place to find snacks, but it's also a great place to just wander around since the building are all traditional and exactly what you would expect from a classic Chinese market.
One interesting find was at a local Chinese grocery store. As you know I love to check out local grocery stores in every place I visit, and I was not disappointed in Shanghai. There were a few Chinese treats to choose from, but most interesting was how they kept their western candy. The chocolate bars were each found in protective security boxes. I imagine that there was a theft problem in the past, and it must have been such a problem that drastic measures had to be taken. While the bars were pricey, they weren't much more expensive than what I find in most Asian countries, and I've never seen this kind of security for chocolate bars before.

After a bleary eyed day of walking around, we stopped at Tim Horton's (you can read the full review of that exspirience here) and headed to Shanghai Disneyland for two days and three nights of fun.

The park itself is very nice. I'd heard rumors on the internet about how poorly this Disney park was maintained and abused, and saw none of that at all. It may not have been as clean as some of the other Disney parks, but it was pretty close. It also has two of the greatest rides in all Disney parks (we've been to all except the two in California) Tron Lightcycles and their version of Pirates of the Caribbean. I won't say much more about the parks in general, but if you're a Disney parks fan it's well worth a day or two.
Meal wise, Shanghai Disneyland is not really as full as the other Disney parks. Florida and Tokyo have become food destinations, but this Disney parks doesn't really go for that at all. There is only one sit down restaurant in the whole park, it's expensive but the food was okay. The best place to get a meal in this park is actually outside the gates in Disneytown. There you'll find a nice range of restaurants that including a Cheesecake Factory and a Wolfgang Puck's restaurant. The park had a few less formal places to eat, and they were okay, but nothing that spectacular.
Snack wise this park has a few interesting treats. We found ourselves eating at the bakery a few times and generally found the baked goods to be pretty good. The white chocolate doughnut and cheesecake were surprisingly good. I would think that just about every baked good would probably taste fine, at least we didn't find one that we hated.
It seemed that waffles and flower flavoured ice cream were also fairly popular. We had a few waffles and they were fine, although most of the time they were served cold. We also saw a lot of Mickey ice cream bars around the park. They come with both vanilla and chocolate ice cream inside. They also have Minnie ice cream bars with white chocolate on the outside. While I was tempted to pick up an ice cream bar, I couldn't find myself paying the 8 dollars it cost.
Shanghai Disneyland is a fun place to visit, but it really isn't a foodie destination. You will find plenty of Chinese food options, and plenty of western options, but I don't think you'll  find anything exceptional. What they lack in food however they do make up for in fun. We had a great time, and I'm glad we got to check out this Disney park.


Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Tom's Look At The Visual Side Of Snacks And Candy - Nature's Path Chewy Strawberry Granola Bars

Hey all!
Time for another look at snack and candy packaging! This time, I want to show you how a company maxed out the box in which their granola bars for kids are sold. The outside of the box is attractively designed with colourful imagery to appeal to kids (and the parents doing the buying). Nature’s Path is a company that sells “Organic” goods like cereals as well as these granola bars. You’ll notice the “Envirokidz” logo as part of the Nature’s Path logo. Also, in the right side of the first photograph, under some bullet points extolling the benefits of the snack itself, it says “SAVE MACAWS”. This might explain the somewhat odd choice of the large image of the macaw on the left side of the package. I say ‘unusual’ since strawberries and macaws really don’t relate, apart from the colour association. One might expect a macaw to be used to promote a tropical fruit mix granola bar. That’s where the next batch of photos come in!
Almost the entire INSIDE of the box is used to present information about the companies efforts to help preserve the Amazon rainforest, home to the macaw.
Also, facts about the macaw are presented.
Finally, kids are given pointers on things to do and habits to pick up close to home to help the planet.

Not only is this a fun way of making kids and parents aware of and perhaps involved with an aspect of preserving the environment but the company actually utilized the inside of the box to present this information! Rather than a website link, which might be ignored (life is busy...) the designers put to use packaging real estate that would be blank and unnoticed. Bravo to the designers for a smart and informative package design!


Make sure to follow Tom on Instagram to check out his amazing art. Also be sure to check out one of Tom's exclusive t-shirts that he designed for Candy Critic.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

We Always Start The Month Off With Some Thoughts.

On this months episode of Chris's Monthly Morning Breakfast Thoughts I talk about our trip to Shanghai, fake meat, and other Disney fun times, live from downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Click here to read the article about Shanghai Tim Horton's.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to keep up with all our adventures.

You can also follow us on Patreon to get a few extra bits.


Monday, June 03, 2019

It's Getting Warmer, And We're Thinking About Ice Cream - Icecream Cake "With Cookie & Cream"

Technically the weather isn't getting warmer where I am, it's always warm where I am right now. However, around the Northern Hemisphere it's getting warmer, and that means that ice cream season is upon many of us. I remember the joy of getting the first ice cream cone of the season, and knowing that many more were to follow. I also remember the first time it dawned on me that I could actually get ice cream in the winter too, but that's a different story.

I figured that it would be a good idea to post an ice cream review to kick off the ice cream season. Fortunately it turns out that this ice cream treat is one of the most unique ice cream treats that I've had in a while.

Click here to read about this unique ice cream creation.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with all of our fun candy adventures.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

It's A New Episode Of Junk Fud On The Road (With A Disneyland Twist)

It's been a little while since we've posted a new episode of Junk Fud On The Road, but we're back. In this episode Chris and Allison talk about their latest adventure to Shanghai, China. The focus of the trip was to check out Shanghai Disneyland, but there were a few bonus adventures along the way, including a stop at Tim Horton's.

You can find older episodes of Junk Fud On The Road here, you can also follow us on Youtube or Soundcloud.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to check out some more of our travel photos.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tim Horton's, China Edition

A few months ago, Allison and I decided that we would plan a trip to Shanghai, China. Since we're living in Asia right now, the distance wasn't too far, and we had a long weekend to use for just such an adventure. The focus of our adventure was going to be Shanghai Disneyland (you'll be able to read more about that later), but with an early flight into the city, we decided to spend our first day in Shanghai proper.

We didn't know what we were going to do on this day. We would have just got off a strange midnight to 5 am flight, likely with little sleep. The only thing we knew for sure is we wanted to walk along the Bund. Other than that we had nothing planned until we checked into our hotel in the afternoon at Disneyland. We asked a few friends about what we should see, and got a list of fun neighbourhoods and sights to check out. Then it dawned on us, we had heard rumours that there were Tim Horton's opening up in China, and Shanghai would be the perfect city to do this. We did a little research and were delighted to find that this was the case, and that the one location (two more have opened in the last few days) was well within our touring plans.

While it would have been great to make Tim Horton's our first stop in Shanghai, geographically it didn't make any sense. We decided instead to start with the Bund, and work our way into the city towards the People's Square (where the TIm Horton's is located). The day pretty much happened as expected. We wandered around Shanghai finding a few snacks and treats to sample along the way, but we always kept a bit of room for some Timbits (and whatever else we might come across at Tim Horton's). It was a fun day seeing the sights and enjoying the vibe of  the city, and it wasn't until after lunch that we finally came to the doorway.

When we came to the door it was as if we were back in Canada. The sign is perfect, even slightly understated (very Canadian). There were a few advertisements stuck to the window as well promoting things that seemed very Tim Horton's and the might have even been recognizable (it's been a little while since I've been back in Canada). But the outside is where any similarities to a regular Tim Horton's stopped.

Once you walked into this place the decor took a drastic change. There was a lot of wood and heavy tables and chairs. There were also neatly stacked mugs and bags of coffee stacked for sale in an elegant display in the middle of the store. The decorations were much more modern than one might find at a regular Tim Horton's, but most interesting was the employees uniforms. They were all wearing bright red plaid lumberjack shirts. Stranger still was the lack of any kind of doughnut rack. Instead there was a glass display case with the various doughnuts available displayed under glass. I'd never seen Timbits displayed on a slate black stone plate before, fancy to say the least.

The look was a bit jarring, but the menu did have a few things to make you feel comfortable. It was a little odd to actually see a book style menu as well. I'm glad the menu was there though because there were a few different items available, and these menus provided a good way to communicate with the people taking your order. My favourite part of the menu was the full description of what a Double-Double was and how to order it. While a few menu items tempted us, we thought that Timbits and coffee would be the prudent thing to order. We also thought it would be quick, and just in case we couldn't get a table, something we could carry outside if necessary.  Did I mention that the place was packed, it made me happy to see so many Chinese people celebrating Canada.

This is the part where things kind of fell apart a little. First of all they don't offer Timbits the same way that most Tim Horton's offer Timbits. It appears that you could only order Timbits in batches of six. We asked for assorted (since the example Timbits in the glass case didn't mention what flavour was available), when we said we wanted assorted, the girl helping us looked at us strangely. It seems like the only way one can order Timbits in this location is to buy a box of six different Timbits. It worked find for us, but if you had a craving for a full box of chocolate dipped you might be out of luck.
This is what you get if you order 1 Timbit... how cute.
Remember that they didn't have doughnut racks, so that meant that the donuts had to come from the busy kitchen. The thought was that they had racks, but they might be in the back, out of the way. As it turns out, this might not have been the case. We waited a good 20 (or 30) minutes for our Timbits to be prepared. I was peeking into the kitchen and I spotted an employee carefully preparing our Timbits, one at a time. This did turn our quick Timbit grab into a longer adventure, but a table opened up in that time, so it worked in our favour. I'm not sure if this slow Timbit issue is just a kink to be worked out, so I'm willing to give them a pass on that. I'm particularly willing to give them a pass because of the quality of the Timbits we finally got.

We ordered 12 Timbits, and we each got a box of six, the math works I guess. In each box were 6 carefully decorated Timbits that were frankly beautiful. Two in particular were absolute masterpieces (one was a little too strange for Allison). There was a maple iced Timbit that was covered so carefully with just the right amount of maple icing., but the real hero was a Timbit that was coated with chocolate icing, and then sprinkled on top was some kind of amazing chocolate powder/milk chocolate. These two doughnuts were just amazing, well beyond anything I've ever seen at a Canadian Tim Horton's.

The chocolate glazed, sprinkled, and cherry powdered Timbits were pretty close to what you might get at home with one exception. In the case of all of these doughnuts, they were far less sweet than what you find in a Canadian Tim Horton's. I imagine that this is a change made to deal with Chinese tastes, and it was a really nice twist. It helped the flavour of these Timbits come through a little bit better, and if you're like Allison, the lack of extra sugar is a plus.

The last Timbit was truly the strange one in the mix, and most certainly the one geared towards Asian tastes. It was a cheese filled powdered Timbit. It wasn't cream cheese though, it was a creamy version of something I would describe as similar to cheddar. While this seems like something out of left field, cheese doughnuts are actually pretty common in Asia. While it wasn't my favourite, I'm glad I had the chance to taste it.

All it all I would say that we had a pretty good visit to Tim Horton's in Shanghai. It didn't really fill the nostalgia hole I was hoping, but it was fun to see. A friend asked me later if it felt like I was in a Tim Horton's in Canada, and I'd have to say that the answer is no. It felt more like I was in a Tim Horton's themed restaurant. It was a little bit too fancy and complicated to feel like a Canadian Tim Horton's. There was also a lot of Canadianana being thrown in my face from all angle. The lumberjack shirts, the wood everywhere, and the general Canadian iconography all over the place (hockey sticks as door handles) made it feel like it was trying so hard to be Canadian. I would by no means call this place a failure, but for Canadians looking for a taste of home, it's a little strange.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

My Opinions Of Unicorns Is Unclear, My Opinion Of These Gummies Is Very Clear - Gummy Unicorns

I missed posting last week's Monday review because I was in China. More specifically I was in Shanghai and my focus was Shanghai Disneyland. If you check out our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you'll see that we've been posting a collection of foods we ate a Shanghai Disneyland that are shaped like Mickey Mouse. Some of them are pretty normal, a few are pretty weird. We'll be posting more throughout this week. We'll also be posting a couple of blog posts about our adventure in Shanghai and what foods we came across in the next little while. It was a short visit, so it won't be too in depth, but we certainly saw a few interesting things.

As for our review today, it was something that I hopped would be magical, but as is most of the time falls flat. These gummy unicorns are an obvious attempt at cashing in on a food trend with no real thought about making something tasty.

Click here to read the lackluster candy review (the review is fine, the candy is lackluster).

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Tom's Look At The Visual Side Of Snacks And Candy - Hemp Hog

Hello again!
As some Candy Critic followers might be aware, Canada recently legalized marijuana. This package shows a cartoon Hedgehog with a relaxed expression, paws behind his head and perhaps laying in amongst some marijuana plants. The Vancouver chocolatier Rene Rey even chose to dub this hedgehog variant a “HempHog”. The package describes a “milk chocolate truffle with hemp nut cream filling.”  One of my co-workers commented that she steered clear of hemp products. That got me curious about what exactly a hemp nut is. A quick search revealed that a hemp nut is another term for hemp seed. It possesses extremely low levels of THC (one source said none at all) which is the psychoactive element of marijuana. It does have very high levels of plant-based protein, and low levels of carbs. In addition hemp nuts or seeds are rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which are of beneficial for skin health, helping combat conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.
As a bonus, the chocolate treat  is actually shaped to look like a hedgehog!

I can attest that it is delicious. I really should have tried a regular hedgehog, which was also available to see if there was a difference to the taste. Hmmm...


Make sure to follow Tom on Instagram to check out some of his other finds as well as to check out his amazing artwork. If you like his artwork you can pick up one of his exclusive Candy Critic t-shirts.