Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It Came From Chinatown...

While we've certainly crossed a wide and varied swath of terrain during the course of ICFC (gross fish parts, different gross fish parts, inappropriate jellies, death fruit), one area that we've regrettably neglected is, doye, junk foods. This is odd because... well, you've seen my picture. I'm a man who knows, intimately, perhaps biblically, all the ways in which a basic food stuff can be processed, chemically altered, and slathered in a powder that's a color not found in nature and that tastes of Nacho Cheese. So, let's correct this oversight. To the snack isles, kiddos, post-haste!!!

It's... Japanese Crispy Seaweed: Tom Yum Goong Flavor:

Okay, now first off... before any of you Picky Pattys or Pauls call me on it... yes, I recognize that this product is, in fact, Japanese and not Chinese. However, if you'll glance up top, you'll see that the title of this post is "It Came From Chinatown," not "It Came From China." And guess where I bought said seaweed cracker thingies? Yup. Chinatown. On Mott Street, if anyone is interested, at a candy store operated by the most severe, angry Asian woman I have ever seen (I've seen roughly six severe, angry Asian women in my life). Anyway, my point is that these are totally within the confines of the experiment and if you disagree well then you can suck my Tom Yum Goong, which... he says, segueing like a motherfucker... brings us to the reason I bought these in the first place: The flavor.

Tom Yum Goong? Is what exactly? I have no idea. Judging by the graphic on the bag, it's possibly some sort of soup, possibly an animated shrimp, or possibly the guy with steam coming out his ears.

Oh, speaking of:

Okay, I know it's their country and they can represent themselves in cartoon form any way they choose, but... yikes... how is this not considered a racist caricature? Particularly since it's not being sold exclusively in Asia. If this exact same thing was drawn up and mass-marketed by a group of white advertising executives, they'd get karate-chopped across the skull by a million most honorable lawsuits before they could say, "me so solly, happy fun Orientals."

WOW... holy shit... sorry... that was... awful... I think the picture is rubbing off on me in a horrible way, like how hanging with the bad kids in school leads you to smoking cigarettes and taking the Lord's name in vain and feeling up slutty girls behind the gym before curfew which, okay, that part was a bonus.... but...

Look, my point, which I'll grant you fell of this truck a few miles back, is that Tom Yum Goong is a flavor that's new to me. This, my friends, is a rare occasion indeed. Thus, I had to try it, even if it is found on dried seaweed, which I bet looks just frightening:

Hey, whaddayaknow! It's like someone skinned an Orc and left it out in the sun and forgot it was there for a million years and then said, "Oh hey I skinned an Orc a million years ago... hey, I wonder if I could sell all that Orc skin as a snack food...?" The odd thing about this crispy seaweed is that it has no weight... like, none. One strip of it weighs exactly as much as a puff of smoke or a Prom Queen fart or a newborn baby's sigh.

Let's get on with it, hmmm:

The texture is what you notice first. It's rough, sort of cat's tongue-y; it would be just the thing to pack in the empty spaces between the cardboard box and your stereo when you're moving apartments. However, it's not something you'd want rasping against the inside of your mouth. But the texture is really a non-issue because, suddenly, the taste of the damn thing shows up and subsequently that's really all you can focus on:

Well, I've figured out the mystery of Tom Yum Goong flavor. There are strong notes of week-old shrimp sushi, the kind you'd find at a suburban grocery store in a refrigerated case next to the place where they decorate cakes, and they're backed up by a dry, saltiness that brings to mind a shipwrecked pirate galleon that fell through a rip in the fabric of time and landed in the middle of the Mojave desert. There's also a subtle swampiness to the crispy seaweed... you're left with the same aftertaste that you get when you soul kiss a Louisiana hillbilly who lives in a shack on the Bayou.

Worried that I was just tasting the seaweed and not getting the true Tom Yum Goong experience, I decided to lick it in a effort to get just the seasoning, much like how one attacks a Cool Ranch Dorito when the Cool Ranch is all that one desires:

Oddly enough, doing this produced no flavor at all. Texturally, it was sort of like rubbing my tongue against a My First Cheese-Grater, by Playskool, but otherwise there wasn't a whole lot going on. I don't know if they use some sort of black magic to infuse the seaweed itself with the Tom Yum Goong flavor (which I guess, final judgement, is just shrimp... maybe), but they certainly don't season their snack food like we do here in America, which I think you'll agree is just down right un-American. I mean, come on, other countries! Be like us, already!

But, yeah, Japanese crispy seaweed: Tom Yum Goong flavor was just awful. Not something I'd eat on a dare, much less as a tasty treat while watching the baseball game (although I will eat it for you good people's amusement, apparently). If it's all the same to you, Japan, I'll stick to Cheez-Its.

See y'all next week!!!


Blogger stew said...

I think it's a bad advertising decision to already have the guy on the packaging crying.

Also, thanks a whole ton for putting to death my million-dollar scheme to make Tom Yum Goong-flavored edible panties. We were only about to launch TOMORROW.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Midwesterner in NYC said...

I will never understand the thought process of old packaged seafood sold like it is candy. In China is this the same thing as picking up some Sqworms before Iron Man?

10:40 AM  
Blogger brookLyn gaL said...

It looks like a cross between a blue corn chip and poo.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Heavy B said...

Sad, I thought this was going to be a tasty update, since teriyaki nori sheets are absolutely wonderful, and tom yum is a fab thai soup. I had high hopes. But hey, at least you discovered white rabbit candy! I love that stuff.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Stew... The guy on the packaging had me worried, actually, because I thought his expression meant that it was going to be terribly spicy. I guess he was just crying because it's gross, though. Sorry I tanked your line of drawers, though.

Midwesterner... I guess so. I mean they obviously eat these sort of things as snacks, but, yeah... I don't know. This would not enhance my enjoyment of a movie.

Brooklyn... Looks can be deceiving. Too light and airy to be a chip, to fishy to be poo. Unless it's the poo of a fisherman. Then maybe.

Heavy B... I think it's just the usual snack food problem of a bad representation of a good thing; i.e. BBQ chips taste nothing like actual BBQ. Also, I could die choking on White Rabbits and not mind at all because they're so delicious.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Lioux said...

"Tom Yum Goong" is PEOPLE, Clinton!

"Tom Yum Goong" is made out of people.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Just Saying said...

I think that seaweed is flavored by sticking it down Tom Yum Goong's jockstrap while he is practicing for his marathon run in the upcoming Olympics. After taking it out and drying his brow and pits with it they dry it out for the gullible to consume.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Bill From Gainesville said...

Its going to be a sad day when Girlfriend graduates and ICFCT goes away.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Lioux... Well that's one theory.

Just Saying... That's another.

Bill... Yeah, it'll be sad. But it's better to end it before everyone gets sick of the whole enterprise. Plus, we'll probably bring it back from time to time, whenever we run across something that would be fun (read: horrible) to eat.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

you take the best photos!


2:45 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

The pics are entirely Girlfriend's domain. She's got a good eye and a quick hand, for sure. My favorites are the ones she took for the unfortunante pepper-eating ICFC from a few weeks ago.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I like the picture of where GF is tantalizing you with the food. You look like an animal not sure if you should take the food offering for fear of being grabbed and taken home.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Lioux said...

David? Isn't that how Girlfriend snagged C-Dawg in the first place?

3:38 PM  
Anonymous David said...

You could be right, I had forgotten the possibility. Maybe his facial expression is from him thinking this seems like a déjà vu.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous girlfriend said...

Lioux- Yes.

And even though Clint seemed worried about the seaweed strips being Japanese rather than Chinese....the back said they were made in Thailand. Go figure.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

I'm pretty sure Girlfriend just fed you a roofing shingle.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous mmyers said...

It looks like it's made of Swamp Thing...if Swamp Thing was a material and not a person.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Todd... THAT'S what that was!

mmyers... That's what's great about Swamp Thing: He's a material AND a person. (huh?) (yeah, I don't know, I haven't had coffee yet)(also, welcome back to the ZFS! comment section, mmyers!)

8:37 AM  

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