Welcome back to our second month of Universal Yums, where we try snacks from a different country each month. For the month of September, we’re embarking on a trip to Pakistan. Pakistan has been in the news for quite a while regarding the war and violence that has plagued the country for years. Though it is something that needs to be talked about and acknowledged, it also needs to be known that aside from all of that, Pakistan is a diverse country not only in it’s food but also in it’s culture and surroundings. It is home to the only fertile desert in the world as well as mountain ranges and flowing rivers. It also has a wide variety of snack options and since it is so close in proximity to India, a lot of the snacks in this month’s box are a great mixture between Middle Eastern, Pakistani, and Western influenced treats.
Read also ‘Eat Your Way Around the World With Universal Yums‘ to know all about the process of signing up for your own box and to read about the snacks we discovered in Colombia last month.
Chili Mili Gummies
Shaped to look like actual peppers, these gummy candies aren’t like anything you’ve ever seen before. Not only are they shaped like peppers but they also taste like hot peppers and chili. Though they do have a powerful punch of heat, it gradually builds up the more you eat them rather than all at once.
As I mentioned a million times before in the previous Universal Yums post I made, I’m not a fan of spicy things whatsoever so as soon as I saw these I kind of just figured that they wouldn’t be for me. Though I wasn’t wrong on that aspect, it was more so the flavor of the candies that I didn’t like and even though they were pretty spicy, I found them to only be spicy if you ate multiple at a time instead of just one of them. They also smelled pretty weird when I opened the package so that also put me off a bit from them.
Sonnet Chocolate Bar
As we can all imagine (seeing as it’s in the Middle East) it never really gets very cold in Pakistan, which may be a good thing for those who love the heat and would do anything to escape freezing temperatures, it isn’t very easy for those who make chocolate to ensure that it isn’t a melted mess by the time it gets to the consumer. Luckily though, the chocolatiers who work for the company who make the Sonnet chocolate bar have come up with a type of chocolate that is made to withstand higher temperatures without sacrificing on the flavor and the taste. The peanut and fudge center of the Sonnet softens as it gets hotter which makes for quite the gooey yet tasty treat.
Unfortunately the week that I received my September box, we were experiencing quite the unusual heat wave for that time of the year and though it wasn’t completely melted, the chocolate exterior didn’t hold up very well in the Canadian heat. Aside from that though the chocolate bar was actually really good but it wasn’t anything special or different from what we have here. It was very similar to either an Oh Henry bar or a Twix bar minus the cookie.
Chili Chatpata Potato Sticks
Chatpata, in Pakistani cuisine, is known to be the word used for food combinations that are both sour and spicy, which is exactly what these potato sticks are. The flavor combination is actually quite popular in Pakistan which makes these lemon and spicy potato sticks a huge hit.
Theses potato sticks had a very different flavoring than anything I’ve ever tasted and though the flavor wasn’t terrible, they were way too spicy for me. They’re not necessarily something that I would go out of my way to buy, but they weren’t the worst thing in this month’s box.
Charms Blackcurrant Candy
Since Pakistan was once colonized by England, it is no surprise that the country has retained some of it’s English roots. This is especially true when it comes to Pakistan’s candy, where the blueberry-like fruit of blackcurrant has come to be a popular flavor.
First off, I expected these candies to be hard but was quite surprised to realize that they were a sort of gummy candy. Flavor wise though, I wasn’t a huge fan and I found them to taste a bit soapy so these really weren’t a big hit for me.
Zeera Cumin Cookies
Common in almost every household, cumin is a spice used to add flavor to dishes such as chili or tacos, and is used in different cuisine worldwide from Israel to India. In Pakistan they incorporate this spice into their cookies and are normally eaten accompanied with tea. The cookies are also believed to have health benefits such as helping to lose weight and aiding in digestion.
I think anyone reading this would be a little weirded out by the sound of these cookies and I definitely was when I first saw them but they really weren’t as bad as I thought they would taste. Now I’m not saying they’re delicious and I was only able to eat 2 of them without getting sick of them, but the taste wasn’t the worst thing ever. So while I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy these or to eat them on a regular basis, they weren’t as bad as I thought they would be.
Juicers Lychee Candy
In the south of Pakistan, the plains are extremely fertile and there are four major rivers that flow through the region, making it one of the most fruitful areas of the country. Fruits ranging from oranges, guavas, pears, mangoes, and lychee grow here regardless of the extreme temperatures and weather. The lychee fruit is a mix between sweet, sour, and floral which is perfectly incorporated into these candies.
I had never tasted anything that was flavored with lychee before trying these candies and to be honest it really isn’t my thing. Though the candies were bearable to eat, the floral taste was way too overpowering for me which threw me off too much for me to enjoy them.
If you think of cotton candy, images of fluffy pink clouds will fill your mind but in Pakistan cotton candy is a completely different thing. Soan Papdi is a popular treat in the country and has a floral taste mixed with flavors of cardamom and pistachios.
For me, a large part of being thrown off from certain foods isn’t about the taste but rather the texture. If the texture is weird or too different I won’t like it which is exactly what happened with Soan Papdi. It really did melt in your mouth but it was also a different kind of fluffiness than you would normally have in regular cotton candy. Flavor wise, I found that it tasted a bit like cinnamon with a mix of floral so this wasn’t my favorite thing but my fiance loved it and is actively trying to find some on Amazon so that he never runs out.
Mirch Masala Chips
If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine you’ve more than likely heard of the word ‘masala’ which translates to ‘spice’ or ‘spices’. In Pakistani cuisine, masala is referred to as a blend of spices that are premixed beforehand to aid in the preparation of a meal.
Seeing as I’m terrible with spicy foods, it was a given that these wouldn’t be the chips for me and though they weren’t something I could eat on a daily basis, the flavoring was actually quite decent.
Milk Toffee Chews
First started in 1988 and operating out of a small one acre plot of land, the company Candyland produces some of the most popular candies in Pakistan. One of their products and the one that we will be testing today is the Toffee Chews which are modeled after Cadbury’s Eclairs. The candies have a caramel shell with a sweet milk filling and have become so popular throughout the country that the company have had to expand their operations to eight acres.
Hands down these are the best treats from this month’s box. The candies are soft and creamy and can almost melt in your mouth. They are very similar to candies we have here in Canada known as Werther’s Originals and after tasting these Milk Chews I can definitely see why they are so popular in Pakistan.
Kurleez Ketchup Chips
Ketchup chips can be found virtually everywhere from Canada and the UK to Belgium and Pakistan. Though there may be different variations from country to country, the concept virtually stays the same.
Seeing as I’m from Canada and as mentioned above, we actually do have ketchup chips here so I didn’t really think that these were going to be any different from the ones that we have here. I was wrong though, as these have quite a different taste from the versions around here. I found that these ones did actually have a weaker flavoring of ketchup and were a lot less vinegar tasting than the ones we have in Canada. Though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think I’ll be sticking with the Canadian ketchup chips.
Novita Orange Wafers
From mandarins, navels, and tangerines, there are many different types of oranges in the world. One that may be less heard of and not so popular is the kinnow. This citrus fruit is grown only in India and Pakistan and have been known to produce over 1,000 fruits per tree. Kinnows are filled with seeds which is probably why you’ve never tried one seeing as virtually all the oranges sold in the US and Canada are seedless. These wafer treats are made with kinnow flavoring and offer up a different orange flavoring than you may be used to.
Seeing as the name is pretty self explanatory, there isn’t much to say about theses wafers. They taste basically just like they say they should, with a strong orange flavoring between two wafer cookies. These weren’t overly amazing but they weren’t the worst thing in the box.
Often eaten by the Pakistani people while accompanied with their afternoon chai teas, Nimco mix has grown to be hugely popular and well known throughout the country but mainly in the town of Karachi where it all began. The snack was created after a young couple emigrated from to India to Pakistan and began a small shop selling the wife’s creations. Though the shop grew in popularity rapidly, it can attribute their success to one snack in particular that was constantly sold out which is the Nimco Mix. The treat is made using chickpea dough which is shredded into tiny pieces and is then mixed with a blend of spices, peas, and peanuts.
To be completely honest, this stuff is terrible. Once again my fiance enjoyed it but I couldn’t stand not only the taste of it but the smell. It smelled similar to a toilet bowl cleaner thing that I recently purchased that smells terrible so it was no surprise that I quickly gave up on these and let my boyfriend finish the bag. Taste wise, there was a big mixture of many different things but the main flavors that I could pick up on were a spicy and floral flavor which are not flavors that I enjoy.
Rite Lemon Cookies
A true Oreo copycat, these cookie sandwiches are made with a dark chocolate cookie exterior filled with a lemon cream filling. Though they appear to be a knock off of Oreo cookies, because of the dark chocolate cookies, they are a bit more bitter. These cookies are a staple in almost every Pakistani household and are often given to children after they get out from school.
I went into these not thinking that I would enjoy them as I don’t like dark chocolate or chocolate and fruit flavors mixed together but they were surprisingly pretty decent. The cookie part didn’t taste as bitter as I expected dark chocolate to taste and the flavors actually went well together.
So there you have it, September’s Universal Yums box and our journey through Pakistan. Though I wasn’t a huge fan of this month’s box, I’m still looking forward to October’s box where we’ll be tasting snacks from Belgium. Stay tuned for that!
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