While not everyone dreams of running a Hot Ones-style gauntlet, there’s something universally appealing about a spicy snack. A heated treat. A nibble with a kick to it. A wake-up call for your taste buds. From chili-covered lollipops to spicy seaweed, here’s how nine countries around the world put their own spin on spicy snacks.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Where: United States
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos may very well represent the platonic ideal of the spicy snack. Salty, cheesy, spicy—it even comes with an origin story so inspiring that Eva Longoria is set to direct a movie about it. They’ve become an indelible part of the fabric of American snackhood, having been remixed into sushi, burgers, and apparel to truly name but a few examples. Even Whole Foods, with its emphasis on all things organic and healthy, has its own store brand version.
Haldiram’s Kashmiri Mixture
It’s crunchy, it’s positively packed with flavor, and it’s spicy—what more could you ask of a snack? This mixture is made up of a combination of fried mung beans, noodles, potato sticks, and cashew nuts. Seasoned with powdered ginger, nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon, mango, cardamom, and of course chili powder in order to give it that spicy kick.
Nongshim Spicy Shrimp Crackers
Where: South Korea
The Shrimp Cracker was the first commercialized snack to be made in South Korea. And it continues to be made today, offered in a variety of flavors—including spicy. As advertised, the crackers that get their shrimp flavor from actual ground shrimp.
You can never go wrong with having a high-quality potato chip as the canvas on which to create your snack. These potato chips from Egypt come in a couple of different spicy flavors. One version combines lime and chili for a tart and spicy flavor profile. Another version combines sweet and spicy.
Kasugai Wasabi Peas
If you’re looking to clear out your sinuses, just grab a bag of these wasabi-flavored peas. It’s a fairly straightforward combination of wasabi and roasted peas, but once you’ve tried it you’ll find you won’t be able to stop craving them or the satisfying crunch they make.
There’s something indelibly magical about the combination of spicy and sweet. That’s where this delicious mango and chili-flavored lollipop comes in. Instead of being just the candy itself on the end of the stick, this lollipop is coated in a layer of chili powder.
Tao Kaei Noi Spicy Seaweed
If you think about it, seaweed is a lot like nature’s cracker. It has a natural saltiness that we all crave (plus it’s a lot healthier than, say, a saltine cracker, so win-win!). So while seaweed itself makes for a pretty tasty snack, when you bring a little heat to it you’ve got something really special.
There are certain things that act as a road map to the perfect, satisfying, spicy snack. And Corntoz has all of them. You’ve got your crunchy corn puff base. You’ve got your cheesiness. You’ve got your hint of chili for the heat that’s going to cap off your snacking experience. All in all, Corntoz provides a well-rounded snack that you really can’t go wrong with.
Wei Long Konjac
This spicy snack is for aficionados that are not only looking for something different to mix things up but can handle a higher level of spiciness. Unlike a lot of other packaged spicy snacks that are crunchy in nature, this snack has a chewy texture thanks to the fact that it uses the konjac fruit as its base. It gets its heat from being seasoned with Szechuan chili oil.