Pretz by Glico – available at all good Asian food stores
For our second Snackshot I thought we should have a look at Pretz, another popular packaged snack from Japan. As with Yan Yan, Pretz bears similarities to a popular local snack, but brings some fresh elements to the table which I think Australian audiences will enjoy.
Much of my adult character was formed around schoolyard snacking. I have this friend, who for the entirety of his schooling career had BBQ Shapes for morning tea/recess/playlunch/little lunch/tiffin (circle the appropriate word for your region). By around the age of 11, this friend being a generous gent, would give his daily allowance of Shapes to his friends, which over time led to much discussion about barbecues, shapes, and snacks in general. We began to ask those great questions often faced by snack eater – What does a BBQ really taste like? Which Shape is the best? And which Shape shape is the best? Which is better – Chicken Crimpy or Dixie Drumstick? Can you hit that kid in the head with a Shape from here?* It was around discussing these questions that we became accepting of each others different opinions, and our friendship blossomed.
But we aren’t here to spend all day talking about Shapes. Enter Pretz, Japan’s heir apparent to the Shapes throne as King of Snacks. What makes Pretz better than Shapes? For starters, the shape. Pretz are long thin sticks which lend themselves well to sharing, storing, and maximising surface area. Shapes treat their shape as a gimmick, and there’s really only so many variations of a hexagon.
Second is the startling array of flavours, which currently tops 74 flavours compared to a paltry 21 for Shapes. And the flavours are wild. Are you ready for Asparagus Pretz? Hairy Crab? Blueberry Cheese? Hawaiian Pineapple? French Toast? Probably not, but there really is something for everyone.
My personal favorite flavour, and the subject of todays Snackshot, is Salad Pretz. I like salad because like BBQ, it’s an attempt to turn an arbitrary concept into a specific flavour, that in the end has very little resemblance to the original foodstuff. The picture on the packet suggests a salad of tomato, onion, grated carrot, and two types of lettuce. The taste? Pretty similar to BBQ shapes really.
I think I’m a fairly well rounded person (in both life and waistband), and I owe a great deal to BBQ Shapes. However, I think the new kid on the block could take the social development of snack seeking schoolchildren to a whole new level. I urge school canteens/tuckshops/refectories/cafeterias across Australia to begin stocking Pretz, and watch on as our future generations rise up to become the leaders of tomorrow.
* My answers for those playing along at home – a) fire b) Pizza c) triangle d) Drumsticks, Crimpys are too frothy e) yes