“Turkish delights…they’re irresistible!” And with those words we go down the rabbit hole with Marvel character’s Baron Zemo on episode 4 of The Falcon and Winter Soldier. It appears his words were correct (Spoiler Alert) as he used the snack to lure a poor little girl into giving him information. Okay, so yes this is still the Multi Cultural Cooking Network. It’s not The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode review. However, upon viewing the episode, I started to wonder about various snacks from around the world.
As you might imagine the origins of Turkish delight candy is from Turkey. The Turks call it lokum or lokma. The confections are made from a gel of starch and sugar. It is infused with fragrant flavors like rosewood, lavender, lemon and Bergamot orange. Many versions include fruit or nuts. They are also used as wedding favors.
Make your own Turkish delight with this recipe from the Spruce Eats.
Let’s travel to Northeastern Africa and the Middle East to find our next snack. Halva is widely eaten in Egypt and countries like Iran, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan among others. However, it’s also eaten in European countries like Greece as well.
Halva is a Middle-Eastern sesame candy usually made from tahini (sesame paste). The recipe will either be nut/seed-based or flour-based. Traditionally, the nut/seed-based halva, which is the more common version, is sesame-seed based and made with heavy cream, sugar or honey.
Halva can also be made from sunflower seeds as well; although, this is more a European way of making it. A flour-based halva recipe may use flour/semolina, butter, sugar and water. But keep in mind, recipes change from country to country or region to region. In modern times, ingredients like cocoa, pistachio and other dried nuts or dried fruits may be included. Make your own halva! Try this FromtheGrapevine.com recipe.
Southeast Asia is full of interesting food and prawn crackers is one of them. Prawn crackers are made by mixing prawn, tapioca flour and water. This mixture is rolled out, steamed, and cut in thin slices, and to eliminate the moisture, it is often sun-dried before deep frying this mixture in extremely hot oil.
Because it is prepared with tapioca flour, the snack is gluten-free and grain-free. It is a light, aromatic, fluffy snack. When homemade, you can avoid some of the additives and colors that are added.
Prawn crackers’ history runs deep. We’re talking 9th and 10th century deep! The snack is mostly associated with the Malaysian and Indonesian cultures. It’s known in Indonesians as krupuk udang and in Malaysia as keropak.
These crackers are eaten in China, where they tend to color them with colors like white, pink and blue. Vietnam calls it Bánh phồng tôm, which is made of ground shrimp, sometimes mixed with cuttlefish (which is touted to have a taste somewhere between octopus and squid), arrowroot flour, tapioca flour, onion, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, cracked black pepper and salt.
The prawn cracker is not widely available in the states or Europe, but may be served in some Asian restaurants in the U.S. and Europe.
Variety is the spice of lifeWilliam Cowper (poet)
Even though this article was inspired by a villainous Marvel comic character’s love for Turkish candy, It’s still cool to learn about different snacks from around the world. You aren’t going to find all of them at your local international store. (Although, you should go in, support and expand your horizons.) But what if you could not only learn about the snacks but receive international snacks as well?
In doing a little research, I found a website called SnackCrate.com, which ships a supply of snacks over 20 full-sized snacks from countries around the world. The service is for a fee monthly.
It ships with a fun-fact booklet, games and a music playlist. How cool is that for a gift to give to your little niece, nephew or your favorite foodie? Granted, these snacks are going to be more along the lines of junk food, but come on…junk food is our guilty pleasure every once in a while. Find out more about Snack Crate on their website.
At the time of this article, Snack Crate listed some of the following snacks on their website:
A Japanese take on Mexican tacos
A chewy gummy candy inspired by Japanese ramune soda. It starts out with a punchy sour taste and is followed by a fizzy sweetness.
A shortbread biscuit with a fruity jam filling that’s been around for over 50 years in the U.K.
A quintessential Canadian lollipop, made with 100% pure maple syrup.