Review: Snack Fever Korean munchies by mail
The element of surprise is why we love to give and receive gifts and this box taps into that side of all of us. The Snack Fever munchies-by-mail offers a care package for students far from their South Korean homes, those around the world surfing Hallyu (Korean wave of culture) and the homesick former ex-pat.
Southern California-based Snack Fever (snackfever.com) delivers boxes of popular Korean snacks right to your door, starting at $11/month (for a multimonth subscription). Each month is a surprise mix of chocolate, chips, ramen and drinks. There are perennial favorites such as Choco-Pies plus new phenoms such as Honey Tong Tong chips, which are the younger sibling of the black market–worthy Honey Butter Chips. Each includes a brochure in English describing the candies, snacks and drinks tucked inside.
It takes DH and I almost a month to munch our way through each box. We are not inclined to give ourselves type 2 diabetes for the sake of a food review.
Round 1: Bite!
My first box arrived in November, packed with 14 separate treats. Getting them this way was cheaper than finding the same items at a local H-Mart or Asian food store — if you even have one nearby.
November’s box had Purple Rice Crackers, which are made with rice and purple sweet potato. This snack did not impress my DH much, but I believe its slightly sweet and crispy texture made it an excellent palate cleanser between courses of food or snacks.
I was not a fan of the Inner Beauty Planner Aloe Drink. The small bits of what I suspect was aloe were chunkier than the orange pulp commonly found in “home-style” orange juice. The chunks had a jello-like consistency, not large enough to accidentally choke on but it was not a pleasant experience.
Koreans do to have a thing about imbuing their fruit juice drinks with chunks of fruit. If you aren’t expecting a whole grape to roll into your mouth while upending a can of grape juice, you have to be careful not to choke.
The cutest snack in November’s pack was the Choco Kit, which came with a small, 10-mold plastic tray, 10 small cracker sticks and two small tubes of chocolate, one milk chocolate the other was strawberry-flavored. The fun was in filling the 10 molds with a combination of chocolate and strawberry, inserting the cracker sticks into each concoction then freezing the tray for 10–15 minutes. Out came cute mushroom-shaped candies with a handle. It could be a good way to teach children a little delayed gratification.
I also bought a separate box of Peppero chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks from Snack Fever assembled in honor of Peppero Day, Nov. 11 (11/11). Yes, it’s a made-up holiday, but any excuse to eat Peppero is fine with me. The treat is not as easy to find outside a Koreatown — an hourlong drive for me to reach San Francisco’s — as the Japanese brand Pocky are and to have a big box of it delivered straight to my house.
Round 2: Bite!
My second box came in December. I am already a big fan of Crunch Crunch Pear canned juice. I usually keep a case on hand to make bulgogi or kalbi marinades when Asian (Korean) pears are not in season.
The December box gave me to the chance to finally try the famous Honey Tong Tong chips by Haetae Confectionary & Foods Co. The snack is the younger sibling of Haetae’s black market–worthy Honey Butter chips. The Honey Tong Tong chips were a little sweet, but the flavor was not overpowering. The puffy rice texture kept the mouth feel of the snack light.
For a fun overview of the difference between Honey Butter and Honey Tong Tong chips, watch Steve Miller’s and Josh Oppa’s video reviews: