Boring eaters crave more exotic foods

February 4, 2017 — by Ava Hooman and Muthu Palaniappan

Sophomores attempt to eat exotic Japanese foods. 

Both of us are fairly uninteresting eaters. We don’t normally try anything out of our comfort zone or something that isn’t known to us. So when we went to Mitsuwa, a Japanese marketplace in west San Jose, we decided it would be fun to try snacks that we had never seen before and see where we stand with foods only we deem as “exotic.”

Mitsuwa  holds a wide selection of Asian groceries, fish, freshly baked goods, a popular Matcha soft serve stand and much more. The marketplace is different from the other shopping centers  we’re used to, particularly because of its wide variety of mini-stores. The most surprising part, however, is the market’s selection of odd Asian snacks, which we had never tried before.

The first problem we faced was trying to read the packages, which were written in Chinese and other languages we don’t read. The colorful snacks caught our eyes, but we were skeptical because we had no idea what they were.

One of the few snacks whose packaging was labeled with English was a large red bag of popcorn. It wasn’t just any kind of popcorn: It had the tangy blaze of Sriracha that lit up our tastebuds.

It disappointed us, as the taste was anything but spicy and the kernels were generously seasoned with cayenne and black pepper. While we expected the spicy flavor of Sriracha to be burning our mouths, the popcorn tasted surprisingly bland.

Although very discouraged at this point, we still decided to commit to our goal of giving this place a through trying out. Strolling to through the aisles, we couldn’t have been more confused. Colorful packages filling the market left us confused on what to take a chance with.

We ended up grabbing a pack of cookies and cream-flavored Pocky sticks. The classic Pocky sticks coated with a layer of chocolate cream were already one of our favorites, so we decided to try out another flavor.  

The cookies and cream Pocky sticks can be closely compared to Oreos but without as much chocolate. Although each Pocky stick tasted delectable, the snack was nothing special.

After gaining a little bit more hope in our endeavour, the two of us had a little more confidence as we approached the asian snacks, one of which was soon to be in our judgment.

We decided to get more “exotic”: We tried Ramune-flavored gummies. Though Ramune is a popular carbonated drink in Japan, we had never tasted it before, so we had no clue how the gummies were going to taste.

After trying it, we both concluded that it wasn’t particularly good. The gummy’s taste hinted at a fresh sweetness with a tiny bit of citrus, but overall, none of the flavors played to our tastes, so we decided to leave it behind.

We then tried matcha wafers. While Muthu really liked the sweet and took the rest of the bag home for her enjoyment, Ava could barely finish the one she had put in her mouth. As we saw each other’s polar opposite reaction, we cried with laughter. The wafers were exactly as advertised: green tea flavored biscuits.

Leaving the store, we learned that going out of our eating comfort zones isn’t all that terrible. In fact, we both liked most of the snacks we tried and we jumped at the chance to try these new foods. So next time we find ourselves wondering what to order, we’ll definitely be trying out more “exotic” plates.


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