If you’re planning a watch party for friends, or just want to get a little fancy with the family, it's time to ditch the potato chips and abandon your comfort zone with some flavorful international snacks.
There are some classic choices — Irish Guinness, Australian marmite — and some that require time in the kitchen, such as a pitcher of Spanish sangria and a plate of French macarons — but a little extra effort can widen the options considerably.
Pick some and root for your second-favorite country, starting with opening ceremonies July 23. Here are a few of the options.
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Chin Chin Dough Crunch: Chin Chin snacks date back to colonial times in west Africa, according to the New Jersey company that makes them. They are baked dough with a slightly sweet, delicate crunch.
Djansang Akpi: The seeds of a West African tree that can be steamed and ground as a seasoning for rice.
Chim Dii Pad Thai Flavor: The fried shrimp chin snacks (the chin is the part of the shrimp underneath the head) have a crunch reminiscent of a shrimp shell and have a matching flavor.
Lay’s Cucumber Flavored Potato Chips: The bag, rather than the idea of cucumber chips, lured me, but they do taste like cucumbers. They’ll be the talk of the party.
Junket Danish Dessert: Not right out the package, but simple to make into a pudding, pie filling or fruit glaze. It’s made with sweetened milk and rennet, the digestive enzyme that curdles milk. Mother Goose fans will remember it as curds and whey.
Hackbraten: This meatloaf seasoning mix can be made into quick meatballs.
TopKuss: Similar to a Moon Pie, but taller and fluffier with a single, thinner cookie.
Kalamata Figs: Sweet Kalamata figs come from the southwestern part of Greece. They are most often found in "wheels” for easy snacking.
Pillow Delight: Airy, crunchy pillows are spiced with wheat, corn and rice flour and favored with chili powder and spices. The chili powder packs a punch.
Parle-G: The largest selling biscuit brand in the world, they are a popular tea-time treat. Not too sweet and reminiscent of animal crackers.
Papadums: Made with lentil flour, this fried classic snack can be quickly made in the microwave and served with chutney.
Naan chips: Made from Indian flat bread, naan chips are a flakier pita chip – and also work well with chutney.
Italian soda: A bit more sophisticated and often sweeter than a standard soda, pair this with a Caprese salad from an Italian deli.
Irish Moss: Made from marine red algae boiled in milk with sugar and spices, it has a creamy, slightly spicy vanilla flavor.
Chippie’s Banana Chips: Salty, crispy with a very subtle banana flavor, these could be mistaken for a potato chip.
DG Jamaican Pineapple Ginger: A refreshing soda with balance of tropical flavors. The ginger doesn’t overpower the pineapple.
Green Tea Mochi: Mochi ice cream is Japanese mochi (a soft rice cake) with an ice cream filling. The green tea adds a grassy, herby flavor.
Gyoza: The Japanese version of pork pot stickers. This Sriracha-flavored variety has some heat, but it's not overpowering.
Hello Panda: A pretty common treat in the U.S., the hollow shortbread bites have a creamy flavored filling — in this case strawberry.
Milkis: Lightly carbonated mix of water, sugar and skim milk. It has yogurt and banana favors. Tastes a bit like Laffy Taffy.
Mexico and the Caribbean
Jarritos soda: Jarritos, which means "little jug" in Spanish, come in a range of fruit flavors — mostly tropical. The grapefruit is refreshingly tart for soda.
Aqua Fresca: Mixed with water, this drink powder comes in a large selection of fruit flavors, plus hibiscus and horchata varieties. The pineapple favor tastes like vacation.
Tostones: A staple in the Caribbean and Latin America, tostones are fried, flattened unripe green plantains. They can be fried in a skillet, but worked just fine in an air fryer.
Zele Kocke: These Serbian fruit slices are sweet, but still have a tang that cuts through the sugary taste.
Fiskbullar: Fish balls in lobster sauce are usually heated and served with potatoes, an omelet, crepe or salad. The ingredients list doesn’t specify what kind of fish is used, but the lobster sauce is the dominant flavor.
Vitamilk Choco Shake: The shake is sometimes used as a meal replacement, but has a sweet milky flavor that tastes more like a treat.
Kipper Snacks: Made of herring that have been butterflied and cold smoked, Kippers are most commonly eaten for breakfast, but the snack variety can top a cracker for an appetizer.
Hobnobs: Made from rolled and jumbo oats, they are a popular British biscuit (cookie). The milk chocolate variety is a bit sweeter.
Wine gums: Traditional British sweets, similar to gumdrops but much less sweet and a bit tangy.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 2021 Olympics: Your guide to the best snacks for your viewing party