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8 American Snacks & Their Foreign Flavors

It doesn’t matter what country you live in, you’ve undoubtedly encountered your share of American junk foods. But if you live outside of the states, you're very likely getting flavors of these treats that Americans can’t buy at home. And the more you travel, the more strange flavors of salty and sweet snacks you’ll run into.

1. Fanta

Fanta comes in more than 90 flavors worldwide and most countries only sell 5 or so varieties. Some flavor highlights include Blueberry (Indonesia), Cantaloupe (Egypt), Honeydew (Taiwan), Lactic White Grape (Taiwan—that's it to the left), Lychee (Cambodia), Melon Cream (Japan), Orange Mint (China), Passion Fruit (Portugal and Tanzania), Sour Cherry (Estonia, Montenegro, and Serbia), Tamarind (Mexico), Toffee (Taiwan), and Watermelon (Greece). The company also sells a variety of blended flavors, including Passion Fruit and Lemon in France and Apple and Pear in Iran.

Japan has their own special line of Fanta drinks called Fanta FuruFuru Shakers that include “carbon acid” that releases a floating jelly substance when shaken before drinking. That's it in the image at left, by Flickr user HK-DMZ.

2. & 3. Potato Chips

Potato chip lovers looking to spice up their lives should consider traveling around the world to enjoy all the flavors Lay's has to offer. In Canada alone there are at least ten flavors not available in the states, including Ketchup, Roast Chicken, Smokey Bacon, Spicy Curry, Pizza, Poutine, and Wasabi. You can read a review of the Wasabi and Spicy Curry flavors seen at left on Flickr user Smaku's page. Over in the UK, Lay's are sold under the Walkers brand with their own special flavors including Prawn Cocktail, Pickled Onion, Greek Kebab, and Marmite.


Other notable Lay's flavors include Blueberry (from China, as displayed by Flickr user zieak above), Crab & Red Caviar (Russia), Cucumber & Goat Cheese (Belgium), Finger Licking Braised Pork (China), Garlic Soft Shelled Crab (China), Jamon (a prosciutto-styled ham from Spain), Kiwi (China), Lasagna (throughout South America), Magic Masala (throughout South Asia), Mexican Peppers & Cream (The Netherlands), Mushroom & Sour Cream (Russia), Nori Seaweed (Thailand and Vietnam), Soy Sauce (Japan), Spicy Chili Squid (Thailand), Teriyaki (Japan), Thai Sweet Chili (Germany and The Netherlands), and Tzatziki (Greece and parts of South America).

The fruit-flavored Lay's are probably the ones that surprise American food sensibilities the most, but Lay's isn’t the only company selling them. Pringles also has a unique flavor list available throughout Asia, including Blueberry, Grilled Shrimp, Hazelnut, Lemon, Seaweed, and Soft-Shelled Crab.

4. KitKat

If you can’t imagine blueberry potato chips, what about wasabi-flavored KitKats? While the UK sells Mint bars, Australia sells a Cookie Dough variety, and Poland has a Cappuccino flavor, the majority of different-flavored KitKats come exclusively from Japan, as demonstrated by the delightful Godzilla robot in Flickr user Kelvin255's image. Flavors sold exclusively in the Land of the Rising Sun include Aloe Vera, Apple, Azuki (a red bean paste), Banana, Beet, Black Tea, Blueberry, Bubblegum (complete with blue chocolate), Cantaloupe, Cheese, Cucumber, Fruit Parfait, Ginger Ale, Green Tea, Kiwi, Melon, Miso, Pepper, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Rose, Soybean, Sweet Potato, Wasabi, Wine, Yakimorokoshi (grilled corn), Yogurt, and more.

5. Oreos

If you prefer chocolate cookies over chocolate candy bars, then you might consider snacking on some Oreos with flavored fillings such as China’s Green tea (seen in Flickr user Ken.Larmon's image at left) or strawberry varieties or the Dulce de Leche filling from Chile. Even the pickiest readers who are freaked out by the rest of this list would probably enjoy these sweet treats.

6. Pepsi

Much has been made of Japan’s strange flavors of Pepsi as well, but the truth is that most of these varieties, including the Ice Cucumber flavor seen at left as pictured by Flickr user tenaciousme, were only limited edition. With so many delightfully strange permanent flavors of the cola, the limited editions are only a blip on the radar.

A few permanent Pepsi flavors you might want to try while traveling include Russia’s Pepsi Ice Cream (said to taste like a Pepsi float), the Pepsi Cappuccino (a coffee-flavored cola from Russia),  Italy’s Pepsi Max Twist Mojito (Pepsi with a twist of citrus and mint), Japan’s Pepsi White (cola with a yogurt flavor, as seen above in the image by Flickr user Rami), Vietnam’s Pepsi Blue (a fruity, pineapple soda), and South East Asia’s Pepsi Ice (Pepsi with a minty touch).

7. Sprite

Of course, if you prefer something lighter, Sprite is always a good choice, whether you prefer Sprite on Fire from China (a spicy version of the soda, as photographed by Flickr user sinosplice) or Sprite Ice from Canada (blue in color and featuring a mint flavor).

8. Nestea

For some refreshment sans carbonation, Nestea has you covered, and their international flavors are just as varied as the other brands on this list. Over in Brazil you can enjoy Passion Fruit Nestea, while Croatians prefer their blend of wild berries and cranberries. Hungarians enjoy black currant flavors while Lebanon likes variety in their Fruit Cocktail version. Perhaps the one that sounds most refreshing on a hot day though is Ukraine’s watermelon flavor.

Have any of you well-traveled Flossers experienced any of the flavors here? Or any other strange varieties that I didn’t include? How were they?

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Chinese New Year
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Some celebrants call it the Spring Festival, a stretch of time that signals the progression of the lunisolar Chinese calendar; others know it as the Chinese New Year. For a 15-day period beginning February 16, China will welcome the Year of the Dog, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac table.

Sound unfamiliar? No need to worry: Check out 10 facts about how one-sixth of the world's total population rings in the new year.

1. THE HOLIDAY WAS ORIGINALLY MEANT TO SCARE OFF A MONSTER.

Nian at Chinese New Year
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As legend would have it, many of the trademarks of the Chinese New Year are rooted in an ancient fear of Nian, a ferocious monster who would wait until the first day of the year to terrorize villagers. Acting on the advice of a wise old sage, the townspeople used loud noises from drums, fireworks, and the color red to scare him off—all remain components of the celebration today.

2. A LOT OF FAMILIES USE IT AS MOTIVATION TO CLEAN THE HOUSE.

woman ready to clean a home
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While the methods of honoring the Chinese New Year have varied over the years, it originally began as an opportunity for households to cleanse their quarters of "huiqi," or the breaths of those that lingered in the area. Families performed meticulous cleaning rituals to honor deities that they believed would pay them visits. The holiday is still used as a time to get cleaning supplies out, although the work is supposed to be done before it officially begins.

3. IT WILL PROMPT BILLIONS OF TRIPS.

Man waiting for a train.
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Because the Chinese New Year places emphasis on family ties, hundreds of millions of people will use the Lunar period to make the trip home. Accounting for cars, trains, planes, and other methods of transport, the holiday is estimated to prompt nearly three billion trips over the 15-day timeframe.

4. IT INVOLVES A LOT OF SUPERSTITIONS.

Colorful pills and medications
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While not all revelers subscribe to embedded beliefs about what not to do during the Chinese New Year, others try their best to observe some very particular prohibitions. Visiting a hospital or taking medicine is believed to invite ill health; lending or borrowing money will promote debt; crying children can bring about bad luck.

5. SOME PEOPLE RENT BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS TO SOOTHE PARENTS.

Young Asian couple smiling
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In China, it's sometimes frowned upon to remain single as you enter your thirties. When singles return home to visit their parents, some will opt to hire a person to pose as their significant other in order to make it appear like they're in a relationship and avoid parental scolding. Rent-a-boyfriends or girlfriends can get an average of $145 a day.

6. RED ENVELOPES ARE EVERYWHERE.

a person accepting a red envelope
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An often-observed tradition during Spring Festival is to give gifts of red envelopes containing money. (The color red symbolizes energy and fortune.) New bills are expected; old, wrinkled cash is a sign of laziness. People sometimes walk around with cash-stuffed envelopes in case they run into someone they need to give a gift to. If someone offers you an envelope, it's best to accept it with both hands and open it in private.

7. IT CAN CREATE RECORD LEVELS OF SMOG.

fireworks over Beijing's Forbidden City
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Fireworks are a staple of Spring Festival in China, but there's more danger associated with the tradition than explosive mishaps. Cities like Beijing can experience a 15-fold increase in particulate pollution. In 2016, Shanghai banned the lighting of fireworks within the metropolitan area.

8. BLACK CLOTHES ARE A BAD OMEN.

toddler dressed up for Chinese New Year
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So are white clothes. In China, both black and white apparel is traditionally associated with mourning and are to be avoided during the Lunar month. The red, colorful clothes favored for the holiday symbolize good fortune.

9. IT LEADS TO PLANES BEING STUFFED FULL OF CHERRIES.

Bowl of cherries
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Cherries are such a popular food during the Festival that suppliers need to go to extremes in order to meet demand—last year Singapore Airlines flew four chartered jets to Southeast and North Asian areas. More than 300 tons were being delivered in time for the festivities.

10. PANDA EXPRESS IS HOPING IT'LL CATCH ON IN THE STATES.

Box of takeout Chinese food from Panda Express
domandtrey, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Although their Chinese food menu runs more along the lines of Americanized fare, the franchise Panda Express is still hoping the U.S. will get more involved in the festival. The chain is promoting the holiday in its locations by running ad spots and giving away a red envelope containing a gift: a coupon for free food. Aside from a boost in business, Panda Express hopes to raise awareness about the popular holiday in North America.

A version of this story originally ran in 2017.

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For the First Time, You Can Spend the Night on New York's Governors Island This Summer
Michael Vadon, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Michael Vadon, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Soon, you'll be able to camp out on a 172-acre historical island without straying too far from the conveniences of a slightly bigger island: Manhattan.

This summer, visitors will be able to sleep under the stars on Governors Island in New York City's harbor for the first time, Lonely Planet reports. Collective Retreats will offer a glamping package that includes luxury tents, farm-to-table dining, and activities, which may include live music, culinary classes, wellness sessions, thought leadership seminars, or yoga.

Located a 10-minute ferry ride from the southern end of Manhattan, Governors Island served as a military base beginning in 1755, and was used most recently by the United States Coast Guard from 1966 until 1996. That year, it was designated as a historical district, and by 2006, the island had opened to the public as a car-free green space. These days, visitors can wander among 19th-century buildings, lounge in a hammock on a grassy lawn, tour two historical forts, rent bikes, and see public art.

Collective Retreats offers a premium tent starting at $150 per night. Or, you can spring for a luxury tent at $500 per night. That rate gets you a private bath with full-flush toilets and rain-style hot showers, complimentary breakfast and s'mores, and personal concierge services. Plus, your tent is stocked with a supply of filtered water, a mini library of travel and fiction books, Pendleton blankets, a chandelier, and outlets for your tech stuff. On select nights, you can take advantage of discounted rates and book a night in a premium tent for $75.

The glampsite can accommodate about 100 overnight guests total, and stays are available from May to October, when Governors Island closes for the season. To get to the island, all you need to do is catch a ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn: rides are even free on Saturdays and Sundays until 11:30 a.m.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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