Modern Irish Culture: Snack Foods
Anyone who’s ever been to a country foreign to them knows: no matter how interesting the history and artwork and traditions are, there’s something equally intriguing about the differing details of day to day modern life. And nowhere are those differences more apparent than in snack foods. Though Japan is often cited for its incredible convenience store food, here are a few of Ireland’s favorite snacks that are just as intriguing…and sometimes surprising.
Red lemonade is almost exactly what it sounds like: it is lemon-flavored and it is red. However, this nostalgic beverage isn’t freshly squeezed, but more of an oddly colored (there’s also white and brown lemonade—which is also made and sold in Maine) soft drink (though they call them “minerals.”) Rumors still run rampant that this drink is banned everywhere but Ireland (and there’s also some mystery as to its origin,) but manufacturers insist this isn’t true. Though considered a bit of a throwback, red lemonade can still be found in many stores and pubs and is ordered by both children and adults to go with…more adult beverages.
Okay, okay, America loves potato chips too. But seeing different brands (like Tayto, Skips, and Hunky Dory) and flavors (Smokey Bacon or Prawn Cocktail, anyone?) can feel like a revelation. And the Irish are pretty serious about their crisps, too. When two Irish DJs decided to poll their listeners about the most popular crisp flavor in Ireland, the response was overwhelming, with 53% preferring Tayto’s Cheese and Onion. (In fact, Tayto brand crisps so popular in Ireland that a common snack is just Taytos smashed between two slices of buttered white bread—they call it a “Tayto Sandwich.”)
Originally called a “Tangle Twister,” these “ice lollies” are as common to Ireland as red, white, and blue Firecrackers are to the U.S. Though, they do come with a delicious twist on flavors: the original Twister is a creamy pineapple ice cream and lime fruit ice swirled around a strawberry fruit ice center. These days, there’s also variations involving blackcurrant (a very common dessert flavor there,) chocolate, pear, and even mango. In any flavor, these treats are so popular that there’s even a rollercoaster at West Midland Safari Park amusement park that echoes the classic design!
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