International snacks to munch on during 2021 Olympics, from naan chips to green tea mochi

·5 min read

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: and Djansang Akpi are top-notch snacks in west Africa.
Chin Chin Dough Crunch: and Djansang Akpi are top-notch snacks in west Africa.

Africa

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.

For Chinese influence, try some Pad Thai flavored Chim Dii and some (yes Lay's)  Cucumber Flavored Potato Chips:
For Chinese influence, try some Pad Thai flavored Chim Dii and some (yes Lay's) Cucumber Flavored Potato Chips:

China

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.

Little miss Muffet would go for this treat from Denmark: A Junket Danish Dessert packet, which can be made into pudding pie filling or fruit glaze.
Little miss Muffet would go for this treat from Denmark: A Junket Danish Dessert packet, which can be made into pudding pie filling or fruit glaze.

Denmark

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.

Milwaukee's many ethnic Germans can honor the homeland with Hackbraten, a meatloaf seasoning, and  
TopKuss, a Pac-Man-shaped sweet.
Milwaukee's many ethnic Germans can honor the homeland with Hackbraten, a meatloaf seasoning, and TopKuss, a Pac-Man-shaped sweet.

Germany

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.

Ancient Greeks loved their competitions, and modern Greeks love thier Kalamata figs. They come in wheels for easy snacking.
Ancient Greeks loved their competitions, and modern Greeks love thier Kalamata figs. They come in wheels for easy snacking.

Greece

Kalamata Figs: Sweet Kalamata figs come from the southwestern part of Greece. They are most often found in "wheels” for easy snacking.

India will bring dozens of athletes to the Olympic Games, and a local grocery will bring plenty of snacks. Pillow Delights, Naan Chips, Parle-G and Papadums are amonth the treats.
India will bring dozens of athletes to the Olympic Games, and a local grocery will bring plenty of snacks. Pillow Delights, Naan Chips, Parle-G and Papadums are amonth the treats.

India

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.

Parle-G cookies are seen at Indian Groceries and Spices in Wauwatosa.
Parle-G cookies are seen at Indian Groceries and Spices in Wauwatosa.

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.

The Olympics are a sweet time for some Italian soda.
The Olympics are a sweet time for some Italian soda.

Italy

Italian soda: A bit more sophisticated and often sweeter than a standard soda, pair this with a Caprese salad from an Italian deli.

Jamaica always has a lot to cheer about at the Olympics. Aside from its athletes, there are Irish Moss, banana chips and a pineapple ginger soda.
Jamaica always has a lot to cheer about at the Olympics. Aside from its athletes, there are Irish Moss, banana chips and a pineapple ginger soda.

Jamaica

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.

Japanese fans can rev up with Green Tea Mochi ice cream, Gyoza (like pot stickers) and Hello Panda, the shortbread bites already familiar to Americans.
Japanese fans can rev up with Green Tea Mochi ice cream, Gyoza (like pot stickers) and Hello Panda, the shortbread bites already familiar to Americans.

Japan

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.

South Korean fans can celebrate the Olympics with Milkis, a drink that tastes a little like Laffy Taffy. North Korean fans will have to wait for the next Olympics; the country said it wouldn't participate because of COVID.
South Korean fans can celebrate the Olympics with Milkis, a drink that tastes a little like Laffy Taffy. North Korean fans will have to wait for the next Olympics; the country said it wouldn't participate because of COVID.

Korea

Milkis: Lightly carbonated mix of water, sugar and skim milk. It has yogurt and banana favors. Tastes a bit like Laffy Taffy.

For those from U.S. neighbors Mexico and the Caribbean, Tostones are good munchies, and Jarritos soda and Agua Fresca will keep people hydrated.
For those from U.S. neighbors Mexico and the Caribbean, Tostones are good munchies, and Jarritos soda and Agua Fresca will keep people hydrated.

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.

Serbia

Zele Kocke: These Serbian fruit slices are sweet, but still have a tang that cuts through the sugary taste.

Sweden's Scandinavian heritage shines through in this treat: Fish balls in lobster sauce, known as Fiskbullar
Sweden's Scandinavian heritage shines through in this treat: Fish balls in lobster sauce, known as Fiskbullar

Sweden

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.

Thailand is a long ways away, but this treat hits close to the heart in America's Dairyland: Vitamilk Choco Shake.
Thailand is a long ways away, but this treat hits close to the heart in America's Dairyland: Vitamilk Choco Shake.

Thailand

Vitamilk Choco Shake: The shake is sometimes used as a meal replacement, but has a sweet milky flavor that tastes more like a treat.

There's no wine in Wine Gums, but the gumdrop-like treats are among the contributions of the United Kingdom, along with Kipper Snacks (herring alert) and Hobnobs, a British biscuit (which we might call cookie).
There's no wine in Wine Gums, but the gumdrop-like treats are among the contributions of the United Kingdom, along with Kipper Snacks (herring alert) and Hobnobs, a British biscuit (which we might call cookie).

UK

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

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