A bag of Monster Munch has been sitting in a decorative dish on my coffee table for weeks. I saw ads for Monster Munch on TV, and it was recommended by friends and family. And yet, I hesitated, fearing that this snack would be so bizarre and uniquely British that it would render other junk foods useless, and diminish the utility of this blog. For why go on, after international junk food apotheosis? But then I realized that the sell by date was approaching, so I ate them posthaste.
Why was I so intimidated by Monster Munch? First of all, the name is a bit weird. What taste does that name suggest? Nothing in particular, in my view. The package notes that there are “huge chunks of pickled onion.” I was expecting corn snacks with big bits of pickled onion mixed in, like the corn version of a Gibson. They made me feel excited, well, excited and scared.
My first impression was that they’re lighter than I thought (more corn-colored) and they tasted more like salt and vinegar chips and less like pickled onion. Not that pickled onion is so bad, I just wasn’t sure about a junk food dominated by that flavor. After a few bites, they break down a bit. At that point the consistency is pretty perfect- a nice light corn texture complimented with a perfect amount of fat- enough to add richness. I noticed that these have MSG listed in the ingredients, so that could also be contributing to the sensation of being wrapped up in a velvety snack blanket.
They’re pretty delicious. However, my one complaint is that they cut up the roof of my mouth. You may recall that I described Wotsits as “the ideal cheesy poof for orderly people with sensitive mouths.” Well, there may be too much monster in this snack for my delicate little palate.
The week before last, I fell ill, dear readers, and have slowly transitioned through the various stages of flu or upper respiratory infection. Everyone I encountered seemed to be sick, and this impression deepened each time I ducked to avoid uncovered coughs on public transportation. I thought I was finally rounding the last quarter mile, but then I started to feel new symptoms and a resurgence of old symptoms. A new cold has begun, much to my chagrin. Normally, I try to tackle the first signs of illness with a battery of orange juice and supplements. This tactic failed two weeks ago. So what did I do this time? I did what my body really wanted to do, which was eat almost an entire large bag of Chilli Heatwave Doritos. This is a dominant variety of Dorito here in the UK, where Doritos are made by Walkers under the PepsiCo umbrella. Why am I self-medicating with Doritos? Maybe it’s because I’m Doritos Loco.
A few years ago, when I was working long, stressful hours, I periodically visited my local 7/11 to buy a nacho trifecta- Tostitos, Queso dip, and salsa. I would mix the queso and the salsa together and indulge in nachos.* Perhaps, as a result of this, and years of snacking au vending machine, my body simply associates nacho chips with stress relief and repair. I don’t know. What I do know now is that delicious, slightly sweet, slightly hot Chilli Heatwave Doritos should not be washed down with orange juice. I think the human body knows it’s not supposed to consume that much of any one color.
Now I’ll go to bed a bit early. If I feel better tomorrow, the credit may be shared with sleep and Doritos dust.
*After a nacho hiatus of a couple months, when I finally went back to 7/11, the clerk asked me where I had been. I appreciated his concern, while simultaneously recoiling at the frequency of my stress relief nacho purchases.
What can I say about Nik Naks? I don’t think there’s anything quite like Nice ‘N’ Spicy Nik Naks (alliterative, no?) in the U.S. On the package, Nik Naks are described as “knobbly, wacky sticks of corn.” This led me to believe that these would look kind of like wiry Fritos. Instead, Nik Naks are actually like Cheetos. The appearance is where their similarities end, as least with regard to this particular flavor.
My first impression was “Indian food.” These taste like vegetable samosas. As I’m a fan of Indian cuisine, I enjoyed these snacks very much. I noted that curry powder is listed in the ingredients, so I assume that’s what’s prompting happy memories of my friends’ moms samosas (because the best samosas are made by friends’ moms). These are also made with barley malt vinegar, which provokes a salt and vinegar chip aftertaste, which I also like.
I should note that I wrote this review while eating the Nik Naks. I think that’s the best way to capture my impressions. Unfortunately, the side effect of this is that my computer keys have become so greasy I can see my own reflection in them. If you look closely, you can see the grease in the above picture. It’s going to be pretty embarrassing when I have to take my computer in for a repair because grease has locked up the keyboard. Although let’s be honest, the computer repairmen probably see that (and worse) all the time.