Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Indonesian Candy/Taiwanese Crackers

     Since I had only one example for each of these areas, I decided to combine them.  Today I'll be talking about about a type of ginger candy from Indonesia, and a wheat cracker made in Taiwan.  Both were from Wegman's supermarket, although from different actual stores, as I recall.
     The Indonesian company is called Paberik Kembang Gula Pasuruan Sina.  I think.  Due to some language barrier issues, I'm not entirely sure what the company's actual title is.  A stamp on the bag read the long name I just listed, but on the website it referred to the manufacturer as being "P T Sin A" or just "Sin A."  So apologies if I'm messing up their name.  I had some problems with their website, too.  The Google English translation of it seemed a bit rough, in the areas of grammar and usage.  What I took away from it was that Sin A is ginger-mad.  The products I saw advertised were all made with this item--ginger chews made with peanut butter, mango, orange, and peppermint flavors.  Another page mentioned how ginger is able (allegedly) to cure or treat seemingly every disease or chronic condition, such as asthma, nausea, digestion disorders, and migraines.  Their "tips" page also had some curious healthy living advice, under the categories "sign wind," "drunk trip," "maintaining stamina," and "adding morale," all supposedly accomplished by various ginger concoctions.  Again, this advice might have been poorly translated, or simply a cultural difference, but I did find it entertaining.  (To be fair, I usually enjoy ginger as an additive or flavoring--I'm just skeptical that it's some magic cure-all for all the world's woes.)  I tried the Ting Ting Jahe variety.  As some trivia, this product was mentioned in a complimentary way by characters in William Gibson's classic sci-fi cyberpunk novel "Neuromancer" (1984).
     The company that made the crackers was Wei Lih.  I bought the BBQ (barbecue) Cube flavor of the GGE wheat cracker line.  Other offered flavors include Mexican spicy, soy sauce, seaweed, and original ramen noodle.  While reading up on this I stumbled across a website called "The Ramen Rater."  It's tagline is, "Thousands of instant noodle reviews since 2002."  I find it amusing that a person has an entire website devoted to this limited type of food.  The Rater is self-aware, though--one of the queries on the FAQ section is, "What's your deal?  Why ramen noodles?"  (For the record, the Ramen Rater also reports that he's interested in sci-fi, MLB's San Francisco Giants, and calculators.)
     The Sin A Ting Ting Jahe chews were individually wrapped.  They were honey colored, with a white powder dusting.  They were soft, chewy, and slightly sticky.  The taste was alright.  Slightly ginger-y, but not overpowering.  However, the packaging was terrible--really tough to open.  I had to use scissors to do so.  I'd be willing to try the other flavors, though, especially the peanut butter kind.
     The GGE BBQ Cube crackers were small discs, less than one inch (or about 2.5 cm.) in diameter.  They were made up small pieces of wheat/potato/oils/spices compressed together.  Visually they reminded me of stuck together orange maggots, to use a probably unappetizing comparison.  At first I thought they were okay, but nothing more.  But as I ate more, they really grew on me.  They had a nice BBQ zing to them.  I finished the entire bag, and would readily buy these again, or try the other kinds.
    I'll end this with some personal trivia.  Despite my (middle) age, and after having been an undergrad college student to boot, I've never had ramen noodles.  Maybe it's time to give them a try.  And now I know a website that can give me advanced reviews on pretty much every kind in the world, I expect.