1. Kelp jerky
Seaweed snacks have been a thing for five years or so, but a company called Akua has released a new line of particularly satisfying, almost meaty “jerky” made from kelp and shiitake mushrooms (see below). Three flavors are currently available, including a sesame and nori sea salt version that evokes the ocean and a smoky rosemary and maple BBQ variation.
2. Puffed lotus seeds
In Greek mythology, lotus-eaters consumed a mysterious plant that induced forgetful bliss. Today, lotus seeds, also called water lily seeds — or makhana in India — are more likely to summon feelings of virtuous satiety. They puff up nicely, a bit like popcorn, and while they’re fairly bland by themselves, they’re a good vehicle for various flavorings. The Hopapops brand, for instance, sells them in variations including white cheddar and mango habanero.
3. Shiitake crisps
Flavorful shiitake mushrooms, the most popular variety in Japan, are packed with umami, the savory “fifth taste” that gives rich, earthy character to some foods. Add flavorings like honey butter or barbecue spices to crunchy dried shiitakes and they become pretty much irresistible.
4. Soy sauce and mayonnaise potato chips
The Japanese love mayo, and of course soy sauce has been a part of their traditional diet for more than a century. Some clever snack-food company had the bright idea of combining these elements as a flavoring for crisp, light potato chips, and it works like a charm.
5. Wavy Electric Lime and Sea Salt Potato Chips
Ridged or wavy potato chips somehow seem more satisfying than flat ones (even Pringles has gotten into the wavy game), and the bright, salty lime flavor of these is, well, electrifying. (They practically call out for a shot of tequila on the side.) The chips are currently out of stock with most purveyors, but it’s well worth watching for their return.
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