We all are doing our best to keep ourselves in shape and healthy, but come on guys, who deep inside doesn’t crave chocolate, chips and candies? Especially if you have certain warm memories attached to these treats? My husband and I definitely do, so we headed to the nearby supermarket to get some typically Lebanese snacks that were popular during my husband’s childhood. We took a bite (and even more!) from every pack; my husband (his name is Mike) shared his feelings about each piece while I tried to describe the taste. A little note: I spent couple of summers in a row in Syria when I was a kid, therefore some of what we got tasted and looked familiar to me too. So let’s dive into the world of sugar and carbs, which used to give a lot of precious moments to Lebanese children!
Most of snacks are made by the Lebanese company called Gandour. The powdered juice is made in Thailand, Lion is the property of Nestle.
1. Fantasia Bugles, with nachos cheese flavor
Mike: The corn nachos taste wasn’t typical for those days, so we loved it! But the best part was the triangle shape of the chips, we used to try to wear it as birthday hats and you have no idea how fun it was!
Yulia: We didn’t have any nacho chips in Russia at all when I was a kid, all I remember was simple potato slices with salt and later on – Lay’s and Pringles. The taste is nice, as I do love nachos the most, but I barely feel the cheese flavor, though the smell is strong 🙂
2. Fantasia Vigegreat taste! with vinegar flavor
Mike: Chips with vinegar was literally one of the main tastes of my childhood! It was so delicious, but whenever you tried to finish the whole big pack, it would start burning your lips and itching! This feeling I truly hated!!! Also I remember these packs had Pokemon caps inside and us boys used to collect it of course 🙂
Yulia: This is the first time I try or even hear about vinegar chips! So Middle Eastern in my opinion! I like it, the flavor is really unusual, salty, a little spicy. Well, imagine you put a couple of vinegar drops on your fried potato. Love it, and love how it’s slightly burning my mouth too!!!
3. Sugared chickpeas
Mike: This is the taste of grandma’s treats! I could eat a lot of it, I mean A LOT! I wonder why don’t I eat it much anymore?!
Yulia: Now this is Syria for me! When I close my eyes and smell it, it just takes me back to Syrian house. It is full of sugar and sweetness; I remember to see it in the transparent bowls in each house we visited! It wasn’t chickpeas though but sugared almonds. Though the taste is exactly the same! Nostalgia!!!
4. Dabke Biscuit sandwiches
Mike: Sorry, never really liked this biscuits, but it was popular back then. By the way, dabke is a traditional Arabic group dance, really fun and active!
Yulia: There’s no way to dislike it, come on! It’s really pleasant with black tea! The cookie itself is soft, with the lemon cream in between. Big like!
5. TuttiFrutti Milk chocolate with fruity liquid filling
Mike: Ummm, now this is my thing! Each piece had its own fruity filling and we knew it in turns! They have a new raspberry flavor now!
Yulia: I don’t like fruits in chocolate, for me chocolate should be either with nuts or with caramel 🙂 But the chocolate topping is nice, smells really well!
6. Unica Wafers coated with chocolate
Mike: Tastyyy! A lot of wafers inside, which makes is so soft and crunchy. They say it’s good for those who try to stay on diet, but can’t resist a piece of chocolate. Parents used to give us 500 liras (around 30 cent) to buy Unica and Bonjus (famous Lebanese juice in triangle pack, unfortunately it was sold out everywhere as it’s a trend in Lebanon again!).
Yulia: It’s something similar to KitKat, but with less, much less chocolate on top and between wafers. Since I am a fan of chocolate, I prefer KitKat. But Unica is not bad as well! Mike is right, it is crunchy.
7. Lion Wafers with caramel and chocolate
Mike: It’s not just about the chocolate bar, though we surely loved it! It was the pack with the lion image that always reminded me of the beginning of Tom & Jerry (showing Metro Goldwyn Mayer lion intro)!
Yulia: We never had Lion in Russia, but I tried it abroad. It’s like Cadbury’s Picnic pretty much. So sweet, so so so!!! No wonder the bar is THIS small 🙂
8. Tang Powdered mango juice
Mike: We used to call any juice Tang saying: “mama baddi Tang! (mum, I want Tang!). My favorite flavors were strawberry and pineapple, which perfectly matched with birthday cakes 🙂
Yulia: I don’t like powder juices, but when I was a kid I guess I did! We had some in Russia called Yuppi and Invite, but those were way more concentrated than Tang. I heard that Tang was extremely popular in the Middle East in general, though it’s not even Arabic, but made in Thailand 🙂
9. Butter cake filled with dates
Mike: We didn’t have this brand before, but cakes with dates inside were always traditional in the region. I didn’t like it back then and don’t like it now. Sorry 🙂
Yulia: I LIKE it, though it doesn’t remind me of anything in my past. But everything with figs or dates makes me feel the spirit of the Middle East! This is a high calories butter cake, with strong butter taste filled with paste made of dates. I love it, no matter how heavy it is!!
10. Gandour Mastic and peppermint gum
Mike: This is my school days, when chewing the gum was forbidden. It was a favorite whistle toy too! All you had to do is to empty the pack, open in from one side and blow as hard as you can (emptying, opening and blowing to show me who is the boss here J).
Yulia: For me that is Syria again, especially the mastic flavor. It’s definitely a chewing gum, not a bubble gum. It’s very small and not bubbly at all! It also loses the taste too quick. But for me it is indeed an important memory too!
These are top-10 memories of my husband’s childhood in Lebanon. It would be really interesting to know what are YOUR favorite childhood treats, no matter which country you are from. Don’t hesitate to comment and share this post if you love to remember those fun days!