We're exploring the world, one box at a time.  Snack Squad powers, activate! If you don't know, every month we've had a box delivered by Universal Yums that offers a variety of snacks from different countries. It's a subscription service you can sign up for, pretty reasonably priced.  We've had a lot of fun trying different snacks from all around the world! This month's box is a bunch of snacks from Taiwan.

This month, we've got a couple of tag-in Snack Squaders:  The Girls! On the left is Meagan, and on the right is Laney.  They're 14 and this is their first snack box!

More guests came from a friend of Jenn's, Sarah. She lives in New York, actually went to China a couple years ago so she’s basically an expert.

I tried to figure out why they needed a calculator, but... to no avail.

Anyway, let's get to it. Less yackin', more snackin`!

Pop Smile Bubble Tea Popcorn With Black Tea Flakes.

Behka:  It literally smells like tea.  It's not stale, which is nice.  I'm assuming the little black flecks are the tea.  The packaging isn't very colorful, though.  Oh, it's because the company made it.  Apparently it's not a big Taiwan thing, they just wanted us to know what the tea tasted like.  Then why not just send us tea? Why put it on popcorn?  I don't get it.

Husbando: It tastes like corn smacks with tea poured over them instead of milk.

Jenn:  The perfect mix of sweet and salty and tea-y.

Ryan:  The Popsmilo Bubbleton popcorn was like less-carmally caramel popcorn. Maybe in a pinch, I'd sneak it into the theater. :)

Laney: That's really good. This is really good. I feel healthier eating popcorn now.  They say black tea is good for you, so.

Meagan: I don't like bubble tea.  It tastes like kettle korn, it's sweet, but then there's a layer of something else, I guess that's the tea.  I don't like it. It hits you with tea like kettle korn, then just tea.

Seaweed Corn Bar.

Husbando:  Oh, weird. I'm trying to get it out of the packaging without ripping it. It looks like a corn cob. It smells like sweet corn. * shocked face* IT TASTES EXACTLY LIKE CORN. It tastes just exactly like crunchy corn. It's good, I like it.

Behka: THAT.  IS. WEIRD.  It tastes exactly like canned sweet corn. But puffy.  Is that a thing? I guess that's a thing.  Oh man, am I conflicted on this one.  I'm not a huge fan of creamed corn, but that's exactly what it tastes like.  I guess I don't like the sweet version of corn, although I do like this texture.

Jenn: It literally made no sense! It was flavorless but yet gross.

Ryan:  Popsmile was interesting. Not sure how to describe. It was light and airy. Like a yellow Cheeto. Not as cheesy though.

Laney:  This is good. It's like the texture of a cheez puff in a snack mix.  It tastes like corn cereal to me.  I'm here for it, and I would eat the whole thing.

Meagan:  I like the texture.  I think it tastes good. It's not my favorite because of the sweetness afterward.  But the rest of the flavor is spot on.  It's not bad, I could eat it.

Black Sesame Cake.

Husbando:  Smells a lot of black sesame.  It would be good in little bits.  It just tastes like black sesame.  That little bit was too much.  I guess it depends on whether you like black sesame, could be a good or bad thing.  I think Jenn is going to think that's DISGUSTING.

Behka: It's very hard.  Nutty, obviously.  Almost tastes burned. It's not... unpleasant.  I think I might like that.  I'm not sure.  Made my fingers sticky.  Is burning it the thing that  makes it black? Or is it just a variety of sesame? I am discovering my lack of knowledge about sesame.  I guess it's a huge deal there, but not so much here in Missourah.

Jenn: I like it but if I break a tooth do I get Workmen’s Compensation????

Ryan: The Sesame cake looked very unappetizing but it tasted quite good. Not the best item in the bunch, but I'd eat it again. It wasn't sweet like cake but rather crunchy and just a bit on the salty side.

Laney: Muscles.  This is sticky again. That was not good.  I want to spit this out.

Meagan:  That looks like tar.  *licks it* Tastes like burned asphalt.

Nice Choice 5 Spice Crackers.

Husbando:  *puzzled look* They just taste like the crunchies you get when you go to a Chinese restaurant for soup.  No flavor to them. Afterwards you get a subtle hint of flavor, the "wonder powder".

Behka:  It tastes like what I imagine a rejected Cheez It would taste like.  Like the ones that are too hard, and have gone stale, and they're nobody's friend. I got a weird almost cardboard aftertaste. Why do these snacks keep promising me spiciness and then not delivering on said spiciness?

Jenn: A really good cracker.

Ryan: The Spice crackers were a bit on the blander side. But like a less-aggressive Cheeze It. I wouldn't eat it everyday but once in a while, it would suffice for a light snack.

Laney: Smells. That was not a good smell.  It kinda smells like barbecue chips, but grosser. It tastes in Gardetto's, like the rye chip that I love.  I would eat these. It tastes a lot better than it smells.

Meagan: I don't like the smell. It looks like cardboard.  I don't know what it tastes like. It's not bad. It tastes like an imitation pizza chip.

Taiwan Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls.

Husbando: Oooooh, it's peanut butter and mochi.  There's only four, I guess you and I can split one. It's like an exciting version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  I did like it. I liked it quite a bit.

Behka: I don't know what mochi is.  These are very soft.  Pliable.  The chocolate looks very pretty.  Oh.  So mochi is like, a paste? It's like a very chewy paste. I'm not sure I find this pleasant. I like the chocolate, I like the peanut butter, and usually that's an unbeatable combo.  I think the texture of the mochi is throwing me off.

Jenn did not rate this snack.

Ryan: Taiwan Choco Ball was like a really soft, fluffy piece of air. It was just sweet enough but not overpowering. I approve!

Laney: This is so good.  I want that every day. This is like, real peanut butter. This isn't like what you get in a peanut butter cup.

Meagan:  Oh.  Woah.  What? It's like moulding.  I don't like the texture. It tastes good, but I can't do the texture. It's like a sponge in my mouth. It tastes like a fancy peanut butter.

Mincher Spicy Scallion Stick.

Husbando: Oh, neat. It's like they dipped it in a scallion substance.  The first thing I thought of was the fair. Like a fried thing, when you're walking down the street at the fair.

Behka: It smells like an onion ring.  It's a little spicy! But it's not too spicy.  It definitely has a "those little hard bread-sticks you get in restaurant packages with your salad" vibe.  That's nice, though. I like this, definitely.  You can see the different ingredients right on the stick.   It does look like they dipped it into something instead of rolling or what have you.

Jenn did not rate this snack.

Ryan: Midner spicy scallion stick was surprisingly tasty. It looks liked a colorful pretzel and I was hesitant but it had a nice crunchy texture with a hint of salty spice.

Laney:  Honey and Scallion?  No. Gross.

Meagan:  Ew.  This does not look appealing.  This smells like a Chinese dumpling.  It's sticky.  It's definitely not spicy.  It's not bad, it just tastes like a stick out of a Cheez It mix with garlic, honey on the outside. I like the sweet with the onion.

Cadina Salted Fries.

Husbando:  Taiwanese people eat out more than Americans do.  I just read that.  They look just like french fries.  They just taste like plain, baked potato.

Behka:  I don't get any smell off of these.  They DO look just like french fries.  Little cute french fries.  I don't get any taste at first.  As it goes, it does taste like a fried potato. I can't get over the "no smell" thing, though.  They do look just like fries you'd bake up in the oven at home, not really like fast food fries, though.  These are more... humble than fast food fries, if that's a thing.

Jenn did not rate this snack.

Ryan:The Cadina salted fries were like crunchy McDonalds fries. I liked them.

Laney: It smells sweet.  It just reminds me of shoestring potatoes.

Meagan: They smell sweet.  That does not taste like a french fry.  Hold on, I know what it tastes like.  Yeah, they taste like shoestrings! I don't think I could eat a lot of those.

Mincher Tarro Wafer.

Husbando:  You want me to give you a history lesson on taro? Because I can give you a history lesson on taro.  In Hawaii, they mash it up and use it to make poi. It's purple. It smells interesting. It's kinda nutty.  It mostly tastes like wafer.  But taro is kinda nutty, so.

Behka:  It reminds me of a drier version of the wafers we had from Brazil.  Not very flavorful.  Kinda bland.  Dry.  I mean, it's not unpleasant, I can see why someone would want to snack on this. I just don't think it's necessarily my thing.  Wafers are not an everyday thing for me. They're more like a "the little old lady that lives next door and lets you play in her yard" snack.

Jenn:  Both Sarah and I normally eat those. So it was like a normal snack.

Ryan:The Mincher Taru wafer was really bland for my tastebuds. Not a keeper.

Laney:  It looks sweet on the packaging. It just tastes like the wafer cakes that we have here, but without chocolate or strawberry, it's just plain wafer.

Meagan: It's good.  I could eat this whole thing, but there's no flavor.  There's nothing that makes me want to crave it.  It kind of tastes like cardboard. I would eat this if I just wanted something crispy.

Koloko Basil Pea Crackers.

Husbando:  *Smells, coughs, recoils, takes off glasses and wipes eyes*  That's a LOT of basil.  Tastes just like eating a basil leaf.  It's just all basil.  Which, if you like basil, okay, that's a good thing?  I don't care for it.

Behka:  It is a very strong smell of basil.  They're little twists, like those.. what is it. Frito's twists?  I don't get any peas, I just get basil.  But I don't think it's overpowering.  I like it. Very crispy, nice texture.  I love pesto, this just tastes like basil pesto.  It lingers, like fresh basil does when I pick it from the backyard. I guess the actual chip is ground peas or something? I don't taste them at all.  But it's nice.  I like it.

Jenn: Pretty solid snack. Tastes like the veggie snacks at Walmart.

Ryan: Basil Pea crackers are like little twists of Heaven. I love these things!

Meagan:  This does smell a lot like basil.  I like it. These are sooo good.

Laney:  That's nasty. It tastes like those Frito's chips? It just tastes like a crunchy pea, and I hate pea.

Brown Sugar Lotus Cake. 

Husbando:  This smells delicious.  Oh, it's a very nice texture.  Very sticky.  You need to take these away from me or I'll eat them all.

Behka:  It smells like a donut.  It has the smell of something kind of like a Casey's donut.  Like a bear claw.  It's light. I.... don't like it, though.

Jenn: I HATE THE SMELL OF BROWN SUGAR.

Ryan: Brown sugar cake tasted a bit like you would expect, just a little lighter. Thumbs up.

Laney:  It smells like straight McDonald's syrup.  It tastes nutty. It reminds me of caramelized cashews at the fair. This hurts my braces.

Meagan:  It smells delicious.  It's sticky.  It's good. It tastes like a sweet wafer.  It's good. I could eat this again.

ADZUKI (Red bean) Milk Candy.

Husbando: We've been down this road before. *shocked look after smelling* It smells like sweet milk.  *immediately grabs Kleenex, removes candy from mouth, wipes down tongue, reaches for drink* I don't have the words to describe the taste of what just went into my mouth.  But I don't like it.

Behka:  I don't get any smell off it.  Hard candy again. It's not even sweet.  It's like a plain, sad bean. Like a bean you'd get in your auntie's ham and beans after its been in the fridge for three days and doesn't taste good anymore. It's not offensive or anything, it's just not nice.  If someone offered me these, I would politely refuse. Or, I would take one, and just put it in my pocket or something and throw it out later.

Jenn did not rate this snack.

Ryan: The little chewy candies were alright. Not amazing but tasted kinda like toffee.

Laney:  That was gross. That. Was. Gross.  It tasted like it doesn't belong in your mouth.

Meagan:  Smells like vanilla hand soap.  Alright, tasted exactly what it smelled like.

Smoked Plum Candy.

Husbando:  It smells smoky.  Oh, it's a hard candy.  Just a little bit on my tongue, it tastes like smoke.  Once you get past the initial burned wood flavor, it's actually not that bad.  It's not bad.

Behka:  It does smell like smoke.  No.  No.  NO. I cannot. *spits it out* It tastes like betrayal.  It tastes like an annoying cat fight.  There is nothing redeeming about this. Why would you do this to someone who was giving you money for a product? It's not even a pleasant smoke, like a campfire or something.  It's just an ugly, trash fire taste.

Jenn's friend Sarah said the red plum candy tasted like fish.

Ryan did not rate this snack.

Laney:  It smells like barbecue, which is weird because candy should be sweet.  It tastes like I'm trying to enjoy fruit but smoke is blowing in my face while I'm eating it.

Meagan:  Smells like barbecue. It's like a burning sensation. It tastes like smoke from the fire. It goes from being smoky but sweet, but makes my tongue tingle.

Black Sesame Milk Candy.

Behka:  You know those candies you'd get at Halloween in the black and orange colored wrappers that were kinda peanutty? This has that vibe.  Only... stale. I don't get why every country so far has had terrible hard candy.  This has to be a joke that the company is playing on us or something.  Like an elaborate ploy to keep the good stuff to themselves.

Husbando: It smells like a combination of stinky feet and peanut butter.  It's like a chewy version of a black sesame cake, only a little sweeter.  It's not bad.

Jenn:  I couldn’t take it.

Ryan did not rate this snack.

Laney:   It tastes like black coffee.  *shrug*  I like it. It tastes like spicy black coffee. I'd eat that again.

Meagan: OMIGOD that stinks.  I don't wanna eat this. I'm trying to figure out what it tastes like. *spits it out* It tastes like something is burnt, like burnt dirt.

Final Thoughts -

Husbando:  50/50.  This was the most.... either you really liked or you really hated it box.  The others were  more... even.  My favorite was the peanut butter chocolate balls.  NO, I change my answer.  The lotus cake.  I would eat the hell out of that lotus cake. Least favorite were those nasty milk candies.  Wierdest was smoked plum candy.  That was wierd.  It doesn't have artificial smoke in it.  It's all just real smoke flavor.

Behka: This was a nice box.  It wasn't as bad as some, but it wasn't as good as others.  My favorite were the basil pea snacks.  My least favorite was the smoke candy. Weirdest was the sesame popcorn. But that's not even Taiwan's fault, so there's that. I'd happily snack on most of this stuff.  There are only a few things I'd pass on. Overall, pretty good.  I don't know if Taiwan was really accurately represented by this box, though. I'm skeptical.

Jenn: Best, black tea popcorn.  Worst was the black sesame candy. The wierdest was the Seaweed corn bar.

Ryan:  Overall, my favorite was the spice cracker, with least favorite being Mincher Taru wafer. Taiwan has some pretty good food!

Laney: I think it was good. I think their ideas to balance sweet with smoky or spicy doesn't always work, but I think it was pretty good. My favorite was the mochi cake.  My least favorite was the black sesame cake. Weirdest thing was scallion stick.

Meagan:  I think it was good. Their flavors are a lot different. I don't like sesame, so the flavors were very different. They tasted better than they smelled.  My favorite was the lotus cake.  My least favorite was the black sesame cake.  Weirdest was corn seaweed bar.

Our next clue:

Next Stop? The home of wizards, castles ornate,

A hedge, milky tea, and a very famous Kate.

That's not all! This kingdom is full of great Yums:

Savory puddings, buttery biscuits, and lots of other fun!

Yeah, that's England.  There's no way it's not.  Anyway, join us next time for our next round of Sedalia Snack Squad!

Snackily yours,
Behka