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8 American Snacks & Their Foreign Flavors

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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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The Hospital in the Rock
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History
Budapest’s Former Top-Secret Hospital Inside a Cave
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The Hospital in the Rock

At the top of a hill in Budapest, overlooking the Danube River, sits Buda Castle, a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site visited by thousands of tourists every year. Directly underneath the castle, however, lies a less-frequented tourist attraction: a series of ancient, naturally formed caves with a colorful and sometimes disturbing history.

The entire cave system is over six miles long, and most of that has been left unchanged since it was used as cold storage (and a rumored dungeon) in the Middle Ages. Between 1939 and 2008, however, a half-mile stretch of those caves was built up and repurposed many times over. Known as Sziklakorhaz or The Hospital in the Rock, its many uses are a testament to the area’s involvement in World War II and the Cold War.

At the start of World War II, the location served as a single-room air raid center, but operating theaters, corridors, and wards were quickly added to create a much-needed hospital. By early 1944, the hospital had officially opened inside the cave, tending to wounded Hungarian and Nazi soldiers. After less than a year of operation, the facility found itself facing its largest challenge—the Siege of Budapest, which lasted seven weeks and was eventually won by Allied forces on their way to Berlin.

As one of the few area hospitals still operational, the Hospital in the Rock was well over capacity during the siege. Originally built to treat around 70 patients, close to 700 ended up crammed into the claustrophobic caves. The wounded lay three to a bed—if they were lucky enough to get a bed at all. Unsurprisingly, heat from all those bodies raised the ambient temperature to around 95°F, and smoking cigarettes was the number one way to pass the time. Add that to the putrid mix of death, decay, and infection and you’ve got an incredibly unpleasant wartime cocktail.

A recreation inside the museum. Image credit: The Hospital in the Rock 

After the siege, the Soviets took control of the caves (and Budapest itself) and gutted the hospital of most of its supplies. Between 1945 and 1948, the hospital produced a vaccination for typhus. As the icy grasp of the Cold War began to tighten, new wards were built, new equipment was installed, and the hospital was designated top-secret by the Soviets, referred to only by its official codename LOSK 0101/1.

Eleven years after facing the horrors of the Siege of Budapest, in 1956, the hospital hosted the casualties of another battle: The Hungarian Uprising. Thousands of Hungarians revolted against the Soviet policies of the Hungarian People’s Republic in a fierce, prolonged battle. Civilians and soldiers alike lay side-by-side in wards as surgeons attempted to save them. During the uprising, seven babies were also born in the hospital.

Surgeons lived on-site and rarely surfaced from the caves. The hospital’s chief surgeon at the time, Dr. András Máthé, famously had a strict "no amputation" rule, which seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but in the end reportedly saved many patients' lives. (Máthé also reportedly wore a bullet that he’d removed from a patient’s head on a chain around his neck.)

The Hospital in the Rock ceased normal operations in December 1956, after the Soviets squashed the uprising, as the Soviets had new plans for the caves. With the Cold War now in full swing, the still-secret site was converted into a bunker that could serve as a hospital in case of nuclear attack. Diesel engines and an air conditioning system were added in the early '60s, so that even during a blackout, the hospital could still function for a couple of days.

The Hospital in the Rock

The official plan for the bunker was as follows: In the event of a nuclear attack, a selection of doctors and nurses would retreat to the bunker, where they would remain for 72 hours. Afterward, they were to go out and search for survivors. Special quarantined rooms, showering facilities, and even a barbershop were on site for survivors brought back to the site. (The only haircut available to them, however, was a shaved head; radioactive material is notoriously difficult to remove from hair.)

Thankfully, none of these nuclear procedures were ever put into practice. But the hospital was never formally decommissioned, and it wasn’t relieved of its top-secret status until the mid-2000s. For a while, it was still being used as a storage facility by Hungary’s Civil Defense Force. The bunker was maintained by a nearby family, who were sworn to secrecy. In 2004, it was decided that responsibility for the site fell solely on St. John’s Hospital in Budapest, who were seen as the de facto owners in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By 2008 the bunker was renovated, refurbished, and ready to be opened to the public. Today it operates as a museum, with exhibits detailing life in the hospital from various periods of its history, as well as the history of combat medicine as a whole. The sobering hour-long walk around the hospital concludes with a cautionary gaze into the atrocities of nuclear attacks, with the final walk to the exit featuring a gallery of art created by survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Another part of the caves beneath Buda Castle. Image credit:Sahil Jatana via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The caves beneath Buda Castle have certainly had a bumpy history, and walking through them now is chilling (and not just because they keep the temperature at around 60°F). A tour through the narrow, oppressive hallways is a glimpse at our narrowly avoided nuclear future—definitely a sobering way to spend an afternoon.

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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Weird
Take a Peek Inside One of Berlin's Strangest Museums
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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Vlad Korneev is a man with an obsession. He's spent years collecting technical and industrial objects from the last century—think iron lungs, World War II gas masks, 1930s fans, and vintage medical prostheses. At his Designpanoptikum in Berlin, which bills itself (accurately) as a "surreal museum of industrial objects," Korneev arranges his collection in fascinating, if disturbing, assemblages. (Atlas Obscura warns that it's "half design museum, half horror house of imagination.") Recently, the Midnight Archive caught up with Vlad for a special tour and some insight into the question visitors inevitably ask—"but what is it, really?" You can watch the full video below.

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