CLOSE
Original image

8 American Snacks & Their Foreign Flavors

Original image

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?

Original image
iStock
arrow
Art
A Beached Whale Sculpture Popped Up on the Banks of Paris's Seine River
Original image
iStock

In Paris, dozens of fish varieties live in the Seine River. Now, the Associated Press reports that the famous waterway is home to a beached whale.

Rest assured, eco-warriors: The sperm whale is actually a lifelike sculpture, installed on an embankment next to Notre Dame Cathedral by Belgian artists’ collective Captain Boomer. It’s meant to raise environmental awareness, and evoke "the child in everyone who still is puzzled about what is real and what is not,” collective member Bart Van Peel told the Associated Press.

The 65-foot sculpture has reportedly startled and confused many Parisians, thanks in part to a team of fake scientists deployed to “survey” the whale. One collective member even posted a video on social media, warning Parisians that there “may be others in the water” if they opt to take a dip in the river, The Local reported.

The whale sculpture is only temporary—but as for Captain Boomer, this isn’t their first whale-related stunt. Last summer, the collective installed a similar riverside artwork in Rennes, France, and they also once strapped a large-scale whale sculpture to the back of a truck and drove it around France.

[h/t Associated Press]

Original image
iStock
arrow
architecture
9 Notable Buildings With Secret Floors
Original image
iStock

Secret floors have long captured the imagination; conspiracy theorists love to imagine that government buildings keep their darkest secrets within sealed-off stories. In the 1960 Twilight Zone episode “The After Hours,” the ninth floor of a department store is where the mannequins mysteriously come to life. Meanwhile, the hidden 7th-and-a-half floor of the Mertin-Flemmer building in New York was a portal for John Cusack into the actual brain of John Malkovich in the movie Being John Malkovich.

While these mysteries may have come from a writer’s imagination, there are notable buildings that have whole secret floors right under your nose—if you know where to look.

1. THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, NEW YORK

One of the world’s most iconic and recognizable skyscrapers, the Empire State building is also one of Manhattan’s premiere tourist destinations. The gleaming Art Deco elevators speed thousands of visitors to the observation deck on the 86th floor every day, and there’s also an observation pod on the 102nd floor. But just above, hidden out of sight, is the secret 103rd floor. Off-limits to the public, there is no glass protecting visitors from the elements, just a narrow walkway surrounding the top of the building. Original plans are thought to have allowed airships to dock to the top of the Empire State building, with passengers disembarking on the 103rd floor, and the 102nd being their official port of entry into the United States. The plan never came to fruition, however, and the hidden 103rd floor remains sealed off high above New York City.

2. THE FIFTH FLOOR OF THE YANGGAKDO HOTEL, PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA

For Calvin Sun, of the adventurous travel blog Monsoon Diaries, a hotel in the world’s most isolated nation held a particularly odd secret. The hotel Yanggakdo’s elevator has no 5th floor. Getting out of the elevator on the 6th and walking down, his group reached something peculiar: an entire concreted hidden floor, filled with locked doors and no people. The floor was covered with what looked to be government-issued propaganda posters, with messages like “Let’s prepare thoroughly in order to defeat the invaders” and “Our General is the best.” Other intrepid adventurers have reported bunkers, steel doors, official-looking men with computers, and others listening to headphones. Some have speculated that there is another floor hidden within the 5th, but its purpose remains unknown.

3. THE GREENBRIER RESORT, WEST VIRGINIA

The Greenbrier is a luxury hotel and resort located amid the mountains of West Virginia. The local waters have been attracting guests since 1778, and the glittering guest list of the hotel, now a National Historic Landmark, has included 26 presidents. But hidden under the glamorous rooms and sprawling grounds is a massive underground complex, codenamed Project Greek Island. During the Cold War, it was built to hold the entire United States Congress in safety—just in case Washington was attacked by a Soviet nuclear strike.

The 112,000-square-foot bunker was big enough to hold both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and came complete with six months’ worth of food, 25-ton blast doors, decontamination chambers, water purification equipment, and its own hospital. The government’s construction of Project Greek Island was covered up by the building of a new west wing added to the existing hotel. To avoid detection, the huge amounts of land unearthed in the creation of the project were used in a new golf course, while the army of workers posed as employees of a fake audiovisual company called the Forsythe Associates, who “maintained” the hotel's 1000 television sets.

Project Greek Island fortunately remained unused, and was never officially acknowledged until a story in the Washington Post in 1992 exposed the secret. Today tours of this remarkable relic of the Cold War are given at the hotel, which still operates as a luxury resort.

4. OUR LORD IN THE ATTIC, AMSTERDAM

Luke Spencer

There’s an old house in Amsterdam that looks much like the other Queen Anne-style homes along the canals that give this old part of the city its distinctive character. This particular house, however, holds a remarkable secret hidden away in the attic: a miniature, fully functioning church. Complete with marble altar, pews enough for 150 worshippers, and elaborate gilt decoration, the church was hidden due to the persecution of Dutch Catholics in the 17th century. Access to the clandestine church is gained by a false wall in the living room that leads to a narrow spiral staircase. Today the church is a museum, but still regularly holds services hidden away in the attic, as they have done for nearly 400 years.

5. THE NEW YORKER HOTEL, MANHATTAN

Luke Spencer

When the New Yorker Hotel opened on 8th Avenue and 34th Street in 1930, it was one of the most technologically advanced hotels in the world. It came complete with its own in-house radio station, printing press, 50-chair barber salon, and a dining room that featured a retractable ice rink and skating show to entertain the guests. With 2500 rooms, it was promoted as a “vertical village.”

Underneath the lobby was a giant power plant, occupying a hidden floor around 80 feet below the sidewalk. The DC generating plant was so huge, it was powerful enough to provide electricity for a city of around 35,000 people. The plant was also so sophisticated that one of the hotel’s most famous long-term residents, the inventor Nikola Tesla, who lived there for the last decade of his life, is reported to have wandered down under the lobby to tinker with the plant and talk with the engineers. Remarkably, the plant is still down there, the switches for the old skating rink, coffee shop lights, and ballroom silent and unused. (Much of the plant was modernized in the 1960s, however, and switched over to the alternating current Tesla championed.)

6. WALT DISNEY WORLD, FLORIDA 

Observant visitors to the Magic Kingdom, upon disembarking from the monorail and heading toward Main Street, USA, may notice that they are walking on a slight incline. Indeed Cinderella’s Castle, which lies ahead, appears to be on a hill. In reality, the thousands of daily guests are unknowingly climbing over a vast hidden complex of secret floors, rooms, walkways, and tunnels. Disney World itself is built on top of an intricate hidden infrastructure that Cast Members consider the first floor. (The entire Magic Kingdom itself is technically the second and third floor.)

The story goes that Walt Disney was walking through the original Disneyland in California, and saw a Cast Member dressed as a cowboy walking from Frontierland through to Tomorrowland. Thinking that this would ruin the fantasy illusion for the visiting children, Disney World was designed on top of a hidden 9-acre system that would house walkways for Cast Members, trash collectors, kitchens, and break rooms. Today, tours are available for adults to see behind the curtain of the Magic Kingdom.

7. JOHN HANCOCK CENTER’S 44TH FLOOR, CHICAGO

The John Hancock Center on North Michigan Avenue is one of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks. When it was completed in 1969, it was the tallest building in the world, second only to the Empire State Building in New York. But what many people don’t realize is that it is actually possible to live inside one of America’s most famous skyscrapers. The residential floors run from the 45th to the 92nd floor, but it is the 44th floor that holds all the secrets. Off-limits to all but the residents, the 44th floor is home to a vast 5200-square-foot supermarket. There is also a library, concierge service, a high-ceilinged sky lounge, and the highest swimming pool in the United States. During elections it even has its own polling station.

8. PLYMOUTH CHURCH OF THE PILGRIMS, BROOKLYN

Luke Spencer

Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights is a church steeped in history. One of the oldest Congregationalist Churches in New York, it was once presided over by the inspirational orator, minister, and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher. Described then as “the most famous man in America,” his fiery anti-slavery rhetoric was so renowned that Plymouth was the only church in New York visited by Abraham Lincoln. Beecher would hold mock slave auctions on the site, where parishioners would raise money to free slaves.

But the extraordinary events on the church floor covered a remarkable secret below it: a hidden floor, with the entrance through a door behind the organ. Dry, dusty chambers, brick archways, and tunnels are all that remain of one of the principal stops on the Underground Railroad. This hidden floor provided a sanctuary for so many escaping slaves that it became known in hushed voices as the Grand Central Depot. At great risk to themselves, the brave parishioners of Plymouth Church, led by Beecher, vowed to help as many slaves as possible. “I will both shelter them,” Beecher said, “conceal them or speed their flight.” The church is still vibrantly active today, and tours are available to visit what was once one of the most secret places in America.

Luke Spencer

9. THE OLD OPERATING THEATRE AND HERB GARRET, LONDON

Luke Spencer

Hidden in the roof of St. Thomas’ church in London is something as chilling as it is fascinating. Climbing the circular staircase of the old church to the garret (or attic) there lies one of the oldest known operating theaters still in existence. Once part of the ancient St. Thomas’ hospital, visitors today can crowd into the tiny theater and stand on steep wooden terraces overlooking the operating table. Here 19th-century medical students would watch the pre-eminent surgeons of the day practice their craft; one notable surgeon was said to be able to amputate and cauterize a limb in under a minute.

In the attic above the theater is the old herb apothecary and garden where herbs were stored and cured. Still well-stocked today, the Herb Garret resembles a Victorian cabinet of peculiar curiosities, featuring wormwood, poppies for opium, and a “bath of sheep heads for Woman suffering from unknown illness.” After St. Thomas relocated, the church garret was sealed up and forgotten for decades, until it was rediscovered in the 1960s. Today operating as a museum, tours are available for those who want to experience the lancets, blades, and bone saws of over a hundred years ago. 

Luke Spencer

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios