Pffft, while the rest of you were eating your salsa con asshat Cheetos, I was eating meat Cheetos. Meetos. And it was Korean beef, too. Squares. J-List sent over Korean BBQ flavored Cheetos and who am I to ignore the sultry obese siren's call of two of my favorite foods inside of one of my favorite chips? As far as the packaging goes, I would be looking you straight in the eye and lying if I said that I did not value the bag art on this more than a live human infant. Although I desperately wish that it featured the antics of our beloved Chester Cheetah a little more, perhaps wailing on a sweet guitar or chewing Kim Jong-il's arm off or something, the image of sizzling meat warms the cockles of my heart and the acid of my stomach.
A cross between Japanese yakiniku and Korean bulgogi, these chips feature a garlic and soy heavy scent mixed with the generic grilled meat nose that often accompanies things that are neither grilled nor meat. Imagine a slightly more pungent ramen noodle seasoning packet and you'll have a good idea of how these things smell. If not entirely appetizing, nostalgic at least, and immediately conjuring up the image of things that might taste like meat. Again, kind of like ramen. Unlike their sauce-drenched inspiration, the Cheetos are primarily yellow with a fine dusting of brown flavor powder. I find that in the past, I've preferred Japanese Cheetos to American ones because they lack the rough, corrugated texture that comes with the American's cornmeal base. They have a softer, more delicate crunch and a finer chew, which leads me to wonder if these are some sort of rice flour and cornmeal based snack to better suit the Japanese palate.
In either scenario, I really enjoyed these. While I can't honestly say they reminded me precisely of the flavor of meat sizzling on a grill, they certainly nailed the sauce flavor down pat, with a sweet flavor profile consisting primarily of ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and soy. With a little research and kanji translation, I found out that this flavor collaborated with the Ebara Foods company, a maker of popular sauces and marinades in Asia, and based it heavily on their yakiniku no tare sauce for barbecued meat. Absolutely delicious and neither overly salted nor bland. I can see these going really well with a cold beer.
Check these snacks and many other awesome treats out at J-List!
WEEK IN REVIEWS – 5/18/2013
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