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Snacklins Barbecue Plant Crisps: I purchased this bag of plant-based "cracklings" from Whole Foods not knowing anything about the brand's Shark-Tank success story. The vegan crispy, puffed crisps are made with a combination of yuca, onions, and mushrooms and have a light, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is definitely the closest I've ever tasted to meat-based pork crackling (though more like the softer versions than the heavily fried crunchier ones). Comparing it to a meat product is a little unfair though, because they a... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended wholefoods vegan snacklins barbecue plant crisps 3.5
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Kitkat Matcha Kitkat: I’ve probably had surprisingly few KitKats in Japan despite it being the dominant market for unique seasonal flavors, so I’m always grateful when they are gifted to me and I have an excuse to try one I haven’t had before. The matcha KitKat has a waxy coating that seems like it’s probably white chocolate based, rather than milk chocolate. The flavor was more nuanced than I expected - not just a standard matcha-flavor taste but a little more bitter than the typical. I think my overall take on... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended candy japanese kitkat matcha 3.5
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Ghia Ghia Ginger: I love ginger, so I was excited to try the ginger version of Ghia Soda, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Their ginger soda is a little more subtle in flavor but has a pleasantly peppery aftertaste (it contains black pepper abstract). Overall, it had similar flavor notes as the normal Ghia Soda (combining grape juice, yuzu, fig, orange) along with a hint of spicy ginger, but it wasn't as strongly flavored as the original, which I preferred. Still, a solid drink. 3.5/5.0

recommended drinks ghia ginger 3.5
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Kam Hing Pandan Sponge Cake: Kam Hing offers ~half a dozen flavors of sponge cakes, and after working out of NYC for a couple weeks, I've sampled a good number of them including pandan, original, brown sugar tea, ube, coconut, and black sesame (to be fair, I also brought back a bunch of them to share with my parents at home). The first one I purchased was pandan, a spiky tropical fruit that looks like a cross between a pineapple and durian but has a milder flavor that belies its spiky exterior. Overall, it has a pleas... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended chinatown nyc kamhing pandan sponge cake 3.5
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Kam Hing Jujube Tea: Kam Hing is a cash-only shop on Baxter in Chinatown that is known mostly for their $1 sponge cakes that come in a variety of flavors. To accompany my sponge cake (review forthcoming), I purchased an iced jujube tea, made to order with chopped up dried jujube dates on the bottom (a popular Chinese snack). The drink instantly brought me back to Taiwan, where I spent some summers in my childhood – the beverage tasted like sweetened honey water, and the beverage softened & hydrated the diced j... (read more) 4.0/5.0

recommended drinks chinatown nyc kamhing jujube tea 4.0
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Kopitiam Lychee Bandung: Kopitiam is everything I want in a restaurant – it's unfussy, always introduces me to new flavors, is dependably delicious, and a great value. And I love their drinks, which are always served in pouches. Their current seasonal drink consists of lychee and rose syrup, with a generous helping of whole pieces of lychee fruit. I'd normally find it a little too sweet, but with the extremely hot weather in NYC, it was the perfect thirst quencher. Its floral notes are present but not overly dom... (read more) 3.5/5.0

recommended drinks nyc malaysian kopitiam lychee bandung 3.5