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Snacking around the world

July 01, 2008|By EVA NIESSNER / Pulse Correspondent

Answer honestly - when's the last time you had eomuk? And no, it's not a creature from Star Wars - it's skewered fish sausage, a popular treat in Korea.

America prides itself on being a multicultural country. In the U.S., one's background can be anything from Dutch to Japanese to Mexican. But it seems, despite all that multiculturalism, a typical American snack is some kind of chip. (Yawn.)

I decided to research a few common snacks and treats found in other countries. I also wanted to learn where to find them in this country or how to make them.

In England, cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course) are popular during tea time. These are thinly sliced cucumbers placed between two slices of buttered bread. Afternoon tea is considered a light meal - not just a beverage - and is usually around 4 p.m. Other snacks that accompany it include scones and crumpets.

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Crostini (literally "little toast") are a bread-based Italian snack. They are made by grilling or toasting bread, either brushed with olive oil or served with toppings like cheese or meat. Crostini are commonly used as an appetizer, but can make a good snack here in America. All you need to do is slice any type of Italian bread very thinly and toast it in an oven or toaster. Topping-wise, this versatile little treat is the Italian equivalent of the Ritz cracker, so put anything you can think of on it.

Any fan of modern Japanese culture will not only know exactly what pocky is but probably be totally obsessed with it, too. Pocky is a slim biscuit stick dipped in chocolate or other flavors, and can be bought over the Internet or at specialty stores. It is, like manga and Nintendo, a Japanese product that has caught on fast in America.

Another exported food that is growing in popularity here in America is couscous. This dish, consisting of grain and spices (it looks a little bit like rice, but don't make the same mistake I did upon first eating it and say "The rice is tasty!") It's originally from Morocco, but is a fairly healthy item that is now sold in mainstream groceries and can be prepared stovetop.

There's nothing wrong with the snacks we already eat. Don't worry, nobody's going to take away your Slim Jims and Oreos. But it won't kill you to try something new once in a while, right?

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