Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Tom's Look At The Visual Side Of Snacks And Candy - Bag From McDonald's Canadian Edition

Hello, again. If you are a Candy Critic follower in Canada, you may have seen the food package in the photo below:
Recently, McDonald’s introduced a version of a food item that’s uniquely identified with Canada and especially the French-Canadian population. I’m not here to talk about the food itself but to comment on the package.

In design terms, lettering is known as a “font” which refers to the style of the type as well as it’s size and degree of ‘boldness’. In the above photo, the container is a neutral grey/brown with strong black letters. The word “Poutine” doesn’t carry across the surface in one piece. Typically, when a word is ‘broken’ it is done so after a syllable. If you sound out where the syllable break would occur, it’s pretty obvious why the word is broken the way it is. Even with the popularity of the “poop” emoji in relation to some food items (muffin and candy moulds for example) it seems McDonald’s opted not to have a word fragment that sounds like “poo” on it’s exciting new food option.

The second photo reveals another reason for the unusual word break in “poutine”. It seems the current design model calls for non-traditional word breaks in favour of a bold visual. The plain, brown bag gets a splash of red from the large, bold letters. What’s remarkable is that the designers were allowed to push a well-known trademark to the brink of being illegible. A company’s trademark is a big deal. It takes time to build a solid identity and once established, it is guarded diligently. It says a lot about the strength and recognition factor that the logo was played with to such a degree.

At a glance, it looks like three words are shown. Once again, the word does not break on the syllables, as is typical in text handling design. “McD” is a strong identifier and may even evoke the familiar nickname “Mickey-D’s”. The second two letters are greatly enlarged and seem to form the word “on”. The third line has the letters “ald’s” and is the strangest element when taken on it’s own. Fortunately, the three lines of word fragments are packed in a tight design block that allows the viewer to take in the elements as one. With the trademark red colour used in tandem with the commonly used font associated with McDonald’s, the true identity is easy to puzzle out.

Next time you sit down to enjoy your order of McDonald’s, you may find you look at it with new eyes.


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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Amazing Candy/Junk Food Things That You Should Buy - Unicorn Poop

If you want reason to buy Unicorn poop, than you don't really understand blind happiness. If you tear away the magic of this candy, it's probably a poor investment, but if you tear away magic all the time, what joy will life bring you?


Monday, July 29, 2019

Today's Review Gives Me Some Good Vibes - Kismet

I'm really surprised that this is the first ever bar that I've seen with this name. It seems like the perfect name for a candy bar. The word "kismet" is a really positive word, and it seems to suit a candy bar really well as well. While this candy bar didn't blow my socks off, the name did put a smile on my face.

Click here to read about the bar with the really positive name.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tom's Look At The Visual Side Of Snacks And Candy - Ms Jones In Chocolate

Today’s column relates to snacks and candy in a rather roundabout manner. The photos below accompanied an article about designer Tom Hingston. He was hired by musician/performer Grace Jones to put together promotional material for her album “Hurricane”. After considering some possibilities relating to manufacturing, Hingston and Jones settled on working with a high-end chocolatier in Derbyshire England to make casts of Jones’s various body parts in chocolate.

The idea was to convey with a touch of humour, that Grace Jones was in control of the making of her identity.
Once the chocolatier received moulds, the team of couture chocolatiers sculpted life-size figures made of chocolate. They were later auctioned according to the article in Elephant (Winter 2010-2011) written by Marc Valli.
The photo of above shows Grace Jones in the factory setting, acting the part of the artist manufacturing her chocolate avatars.

Sadly, the article did not give any details as to who acquired the life-size chocolate versions of Ms Jones. It would certainly make a unique piece of pop star memorabilia!


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Monday, July 22, 2019

We Got Some New Treats On Our Trip to Bali/Singapore - Dairy Milk In Lickables

This latest trip to Bali and Singapore was not supposed to be about snacking, it was one of the rare occasions where we went somewhere that I thought I wouldn't find too much to review. I was very wrong. Today's new review is just the tip of the iceberg, and we'll have more treat reviews from this trip going up over the next month, or even two. These Lickables were probably the most mysterious of the treats we found, and I couldn't wait to crack open the package and figure them out. As it turns out, everything inside this strange package was pretty disappointing.

Click here to find out why these disappointed so much.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

10 Second Kitchen - Street Vendor On Street 51

I'm not sure what these little patties are called, but they're yummy.

Find out where I saw this on our Candy Critic map.


It's Time To Eat Something Weird, Because It's Time For A New Episode Of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!

Every so often something just jumps off the shelves at me. It could be that this items looks really fascinating, or really tasty. In those cases I know that I'll have a new review to post on Occasionally I'll see something on the shelf that's pretty much the exact opposite of a fascinating or tasty find. When I see those I'm just as excited, and I know that I have a future episode of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!

Click here to check out some of  our past episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!

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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!


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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.

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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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