MunchPak Piks: Calbee Shrimp Chips, Nutryvitta Banana Passa, (Malaysian?) Italian Tiramisu Cookies

MunchPak Logo TapeWhen I wrote my first MunchPak review, I swore I’d never do it again, because it was epic and, therefore, rather lengthy and exhausting.

However, as I’ve continued to receive MunchPaks with intriguing items, I’ve had the burning desire to share them with the Internet, because that’s just the kind of person I am. So, instead of wearing myself out cataloging every single box, I’ve decided to pick out a few things I find interesting and make some quick little reviews about them.

And thus, MunchPak Piks has been born!

Calbee Shrimp Chips

Calbee Shrimp Chips Package

Oh, god. Oh my god. I was fooled by the all-English packaging. I figured Calbee was some sort of English or American company, and therefore the flavor would be mild and inoffensive.

No. They were horrible. They tasted just like the smell of rotting fish. I’ve never been so thrown off. I immediately chucked the bag in the trash and wished I’d never, ever had that experience. Seriously, rotten fish chips.

I can’t even tell you about the texture or anything else because the taste just drowned everything out, including my will to live.

Also, it turns out that Calbee is a major Japanese snack food manufacturer, and I need to do my research before I start eating things. And I should trust my nose, which initially went “Oh fuck, this smells like the worst fish market in the world.” Not that that would have stopped me from trying them, but I would have had a little more…caution.

Calbee Shrimp Chips

They look like little french fries. Who cares.

PS: Shrimp is listed as an actual ingredient, pretty high-up on the list. They must use rotten, rotten shrimp.

Nutryvitta Banana Passa

Nutryvitta Banana Passa Package

My first Brazilian snack! I don’t know much about Nutryvitta, because everything on the package and their website is in (presumably) Portuguese.

I was initially scared of Banana Passa, because the picture of dried bananas on their wrapper looks remarkably like bacon. I like bacon, but that’s just weird. But after the Shrimp Chip disaster, dried bananas sounded positively heavenly.

Nutryvitta Banana Passa

…Okay, maybe I should take that back.

Banana Passas are extremely sticky, which is pretty much the opposite of dried. They look terribly repulsive, as you can see. I made that face that babies make when they don’t want to eat as I hesitantly brought the Banana Passa toward my mouth.

The taste wasn’t that bad…I guess. It was like a banana that’s overripe but you think to yourself, “I can still salvage this.” Then you take a bite and realize, “Nope, this one’s a goner.” Sickly sweet and slightly rotten. The sentence “The taste wasn’t that bad” is starting to ring hollow even to my ears.

Is today “foods that taste rotten day” or something? The worst holiday.

The texture was firm yet chewy, which didn’t help matters at all. I couldn’t take more than a couple of bites before the Banana Passa followed the Shrimp Chips into the trash.

Maybe this is one of those cultural things where the taste and texture of Nutryvitta Banana Passa is perfectly normal and enjoyed in its home country of Brazil, but for me it was a definitely no-go.

(Malaysian?) Italian Tiramisu Cookies

Malaysian Italian Tiramisu Cookies Package

I picked these for two reasons: one, because these are “Italian” Tiramisu Cookies, but 90% of the package is in some Asian language. The only reason I guessed Malaysian is because there was a sticker – that was not a part of the original package – that stated that this is a product of Malaysia.

The sticker also said it was imported by JFC International, which is apparently a major distributor of Asian food products. Now you know everything that I know.

Oh right, the second reason: on the front of the package, there’s a little English. “Tiramisu Cookies With Soft Chocolate Filled Cookies. Enjoy the Italian taste of Tiramisu Cookies.”

Hey guys, I think these are cookies!

Given that my day so far has been filled with rotten-flavored food, all my hopes rest on these tiramisu cookies. These Malaysian Italian Tiramisu Cookies cookies cookies.

Malaysian Italian Tiramisu Cookies

The packaging seems a little excessive, what with the tray and the individually-wrapped cookies. But at least that means they’re tough to break!

Malaysian Italian Tiramisu Cookies Filling

Oh Malaysian Italian Tiramisu Cookies, you saved the day. The cookie has a light but crunchy texture, and the filling inside is creamy, rich chocolate, with a lovely compliment of coffee. I think there’s even a bit of crunch in the filling, but I’m not sure.

These cookies were surprisingly yummy and tasted impressively high-end for Malaysian Italian cookies. They didn’t exactly capture the full tiramisu experience, but the chocolate/coffee combo was delightful. I’d recommend you go get some, but I couldn’t begin to tell you where to find them and I’ll probably never see them again, myself.

So things went terribly wrong at the beginning but ended on a high note. That’s MunchPak for ya, folks! Until next time!

6 thoughts on “MunchPak Piks: Calbee Shrimp Chips, Nutryvitta Banana Passa, (Malaysian?) Italian Tiramisu Cookies”

  1. Those Tiramisu cookies are labeled in Japanese. A lot of Japanese and Korean snacks are manufactured elsewhere in Asia, so they might be Malaysian in origin but they’re definitely packaged for Japan. The words on the front of the package are “tiramisu kukki.”

    Calbee shrimp chips are one of those divisive snacks. They were one of my go-to salty snacks when I lived in Japan, and I get excited when I find them at Asian markets in the US. But they do make the whole apartment smell like fish.

  2. Thanks Sarah! I am very grateful to have that mystery solved.

    I can see how the shrimp chips would, indeed, be divisive. I try really hard to take into account the culture shock when I’m eating these kinds of things, but man, those chips were just too much for me.

    I hope you stick around, because I have a feeling I’m going to be thwarted by Japanese on MunchPak snacks quite a few times in the future. 🙂

  3. I’ve been a dedicated reader for a while, but I now know that it’s ALL BEEN A LIE! When I saw that you were reviewing the shrimp chips, I thought that you would be initiated as an ignorant ‘Murican to Asian food. Boy was I wrong. I do understand about the smell, but I think that they are fairly mild and inoffensive. It’s not like vegemite or anything like that. Maybe you got a bad bag or maybe you’re just an ignorant ‘Murican? I’m not sure. Remember, few things in life are as reliable as a Honda. Thank you for your time.

  4. Patrick, I’ve seen you comment before and I’m disappointed that I…disappointed you? I am only one person with one opinion. While I wouldn’t call myself ignorant, I recognize that I do have an American palate and I really try to be open-minded. That said, a person’s taste is a person’s taste. While I’d hate to lose such a dedicated reader, I can only say how I feel. Or taste, in this case.

  5. I meant to post earlier but suck-ass work distracted me.

    Shrimp Chips. Freaking Shrimp Chips. Like Funyuns from seafood hell.

    My little cousin loved those. You know the smell? Imagine it as someone’s breath, steaming hot in your face. I got into a fistfight with her one day after she ate them about whether or she was ever allowed to eat them again as the stakes.

    I got grounded for a month for giving her two black eyes but I never had to smell Shrimp Chips again!

    Those things were so nasty, and only slightly worse in smell than Fishfood and dried squid snacks.

  6. I got some of the Shrimp things in my first MunchPak. Overall it was a depressing experience, I didn’t find anything I really liked in the contents, and I ended up cancelling my subscription. If I try it again I’ll probably pick a bigger box to improve my odds.

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