Some of our favorite regional bites from around the globe
Snack dispatch from Natalie Filkoski
Have you ever had pâté? Have you ever had the brand Argeta’s pâté? Have you ever had the brand Argeta’s chicken pâté? While it may not sound appealing, Argeta’s pašteta (aka pâté) is the top pâté brand in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo. Spread it on some fresh bread and you’re golden.
There’s something special about these salted pretzel sticks from Romania. They’re longer and slimmer than what you might be used to, and the crunch on these things is simply addictive. This snack is perfect for pretzel lovers but especially anyone who claims they’re not pretzel lovers.
Jaffa Crvenka’s Munchmallow
When I say this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten, I mean it. While I wish I could go back in time and rename “Munchmallow,” I wouldn’t touch the recipe. It’s a graham cracker-type base topped with marshmallow, covered in chocolate. Trust me. Find this Serbian snack and thank me later.
California (Specifically, the gas stations)
Snack dispatch from Ash Pattison-Scott
So, you’re driving down the 5, or 15, or the 210, or the 10. Maybe you’re stuck on the 405, or the 101, or the 1. If you’re in California, you’re not walking – you’re driving. So pull up to the Shell, or the Chevron, or the Arco and fill up your cupholders with these California specialities.
Flaming Hot Cheetos – Lime
My mouth is watering just writing these and soon, yours will be too. Once you tear open the smooth and squeaky plastic bag, you’ll smell the salty artificial lime and you won’t really care about staining your fingers bright red. You won’t care about the balding cheetah that is making fun of you for sucking air through your closed teeth too cool off the spice in your mouth. These things are good. You’re more Californian now, being baptized by fire, in a way.
Swerve. You missed your exit. Now you’re going to be in the car for another hour. No worries. You grabbed a couple Pulparindos at the register and now you have something sweet to suck on while you stare at the bumper of yet another Tesla. It took you a few decades to learn that this candy is made from tamarind and not plum. You still don’t know what tamarind is – besides delicious.
Vitamin Water – Yellow
By now, your tongue is really confused. But guess what: it’s not going to get any better. Crack open a cold bottle of yellow Vitamin Water “energy” flavored to wash it all down. Turn up the radio. Don’t miss your exit.
Snack dispatch from
Fill dough with some combo of meat, cheese and/or veggies, and boil or fry it. There’s a reason so many cultures have their own version of this (see: dumplings, pierogies, ravioli). Brazil’s version is the humble pastel, a staple of street carts, feiras (street fairs) and bars. While you’re eating this greasy fried dough, you know it’s not good for you, but it’s oh so good (and cheap).
Pão de queijo
The translation of “cheese bread” just doesn’t cut it. These little balls are a little chewy thanks to the tapioca flour, and the cheese taste is subtle. It’s a classic breakfast food, but also a suitable snack. You’ll see it sold at padarias all over, but the best ones are in the state of Minas Gerais.
Bolinho de bacalhau
Take the shape of pão de queijo (“cheese ball”) and combine it with the fried fillings of pastel, and you kind of get bolinho de bacalhau (aka “little ball of cod”). These are another boteco staple, and are especially tasty when paired with some hot sauce and a caipirinha or ice cold beer.
Illustrations by Amy Siripunyo
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