itsu Chocolate Edamame

Here’s another snack we found on the bottom shelf of the Sainsbury’s ‘impulse buy’ section near the till. We chose these because of the weird AF packaging – a bikini-clad woman’s bum? Really?

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Lottie: “I like how they put the window over the ball but not over her arse.”

Snack: itsu chocolate edamame 35g

Bought at: Sainsbury’s local 

Price: approx. £1.20

Also available from: OcadoWaitrose

On closer inspection, it appears itsu, the company behind these chocolate coated edamame beans, is actually the official partner of the Volleyball England Beach Tour, and, looking at their website, much of their packaging features photographs of volleyball players. But maybe they should have put, say, a banner across the front of the box, rather than a tiny logo on the side, so that people don’t just think they’re being weird and trying to sell ‘healthy’ snacks with scantily-clad ladies?

Looking into itsu further, it turns out they were founded 20 years ago by one of the people behind Pret A Manger, and currently have 70 stores, but we’ve never heard of them before. Then again, Sheffield only got its first branch of Pret last year, so we’re not exactly in a Mecca of trendy brands here.

itsu seem to be very health focussed, and bill this product as high in fibre and a healthier alternative to chocolate-coated peanuts, but they actually have more fat per 100g than a kitkat. And they’re stupidly expensive.

Despite having put effort into a slick website, there’s a typo in the first sentence of their ‘about us’ section, and, EVEN WORSE, they use the motto “eat beautiful”:

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Lottie: screams “That doesn’t make grammatical sense!”

Down to the eating: we’re expecting these to be a lot like chocolate coated nuts or coffee beans, but less delicious, and we’re not wrong.

On opening the inner packet (and do they really need a cardboard box as well?) the beans do look temptingly dark and glossy. Biting in, the chocolate has a good flavour, and it’s a nice thick coating of it. The roasted edamame interior is crunchy, and very faintly nutty/salty, but to be honest it isn’t doing much.

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Shiny.

They’re perfectly pleasant to eat, and we polished off the rest of the (small) packet easily enough, but what is the point? We’d rather have some chocolate almonds or peanuts, but even if you’re looking for a healthier snack, you’d be better off with a few squares of some better dark chocolate. Purely based on the product, we give these:

4/10

But, particularly given the high price for such a small product, and how much the packaging offends us on a really primal level, we’re going to reduce the score to:

2/10

Oishi Crablets

Q: What’s snappy, crabby and can be lured from Scarborough Harbour with bacon bits?

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‘Hmmm… Lottie after a pasting at Pirate Adventure Mini Golf?’

Yes.

But also: crabs, which are what today’s snack adventure is alllllllll about.

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Crab shaped, crab flavoured, crab named and 1% crab powder. Crab level: MAX.

Snack: Oishi Crablets 40g

Bought At: Oriental Supermarket, Sheffield

Price: 95p

Available From: Amazon, Eastern Fortune, Fresh Oriental

These were an impulse buy at our local Asian supermarket. The bag looked really fun and, as you no doubt know by now, we are suckers for novelty. The packaging informs us that this snack is made in China and, like us, is ‘Ready to eat’.

We are hoping that these little crispy crustaceans live up to the super crabby flavour inferred by the bag. As such there is a danger that these are going to be a bit stinky when we crack ’em open.

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Tuck your trousers into your socks. The crablets cometh.

There is something almost intimidating by the huge number of tiny crunchy critters spilling from the bag. Perhaps it is the anatomical oversight of the crabby design (which has omitted a pair of legs), that makes it appear that the bag contains a deep fried pile of mites.

We gather up courage and take a sniff from the bag and find that the aroma is mild and a little like a batch of freshly fried prawn crackers. The crablets are not as big as we were expecting – we thought they would be Monster Munch like in size and texture but they are quite delicate and small.

Megan: ‘Can I make a diorama of crabs against a seascape?’

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Sure. You do you.

As for the flavour, it is pretty good! A light saltiness gives way to a creamy seafood flavour, ending on a very subtle crabby note. So subtle in fact, that if we weren’t reminded in every way that these are CRAB snacks made with CRAB, then we probably would have assumed they were prawn flavour. The taste is very reminiscent of those Nong Shim Shrimp Crackers that you see in Asian supermarkets. The texture is particularly good – the crablets are very light and almost melty like a Pom-bear.

Verdict: These are a really fun novelty snack with a good flavour, but could perhaps use a little more of the flavouring powder on them to stand out from the other crispy seafood snacks out there.

7/10