How Well Do You Know Your Favourite Retro Titbit?
You know your Apollo chocolate wafer from your Hiro Chocolate Cake. You always manage to claw your favourite blackcurrant-flavoured Hacks sweet out from the bag. And you have sweet memories of scaring your parents by showing them that you have eaten “paper” – actually, phew, it’s just the edible rice paper wrapper from White Rabbit candy.
But did you know the history behind these iconic retro snacks which are mostly (and strangely) made in Malaysia? And what does your fave one say about you?
White Rabbit Creamy Candy
You are: too busy/lazy/eco-conscious to trash your candy wrapper so you eat it up too lor
Fun facts: This milky sweet deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award with a side of Lifelong Learning accolades. Why? It has actually been around since the 1940s and was made by a Shanghai company. Legend has it too that its initial mascot wasn’t a white rabbit but a bootleg Mickey Mouse which was later retired because it was deemed too Westernised.
But what we all do know about this candy: it has an edible rice wrapper that looks just like paper but disappears on your tongue like a David Blaine illusion!
And since then, the White Rabbit Creamy Candy has not stopped evolving and pivoting – like your overachieving grandmother who just learnt app coding at the age of 93 – because you can now get White Rabbit milk, ice cream, macarons, cupcakes and even (unofficial) merch like socks and tote bags. This must be what they mean when they say “go multiply like rabbits”.
Singapore Houten Chilli Tapioca Chips
You are: not afraid of getting a scratchy “is it or is it not Covid” throat.
Fun facts: We have our lofty standards and don’t go for just any chilli tapioca chips – especially not those which have become lao hong in 265-year-old tin boxes at titbit shops. Our vote goes to the nationalistically named Singapore Houten Chilli Tapioca Chips, made by a family-run company here for the past 30 years. Think moreish, sweet-and-spicy-and-sticky tapioca slices glazed with honey-like sambal sauce and given a touch of garlic – really one of the best things in life to crank out of a vending machine at 2am.
Mamee Monster Noodles
You are: a greedy, complicated person who can’t decide if you want to eat instant noodles or if you want to munch on crisps – so here’s the best of both worlds for you.
Fun facts: In 1971, Malaccan company Pacific Food Products launched its first creation, Lucky Instant Noodle which didn’t turn out to be hot stuff. The founder’s son then spotted some farm workers eating dry instant noodles out of the packet. And Mamee Monster Noodles was born, along with a blue monster mascot that reminds us of Herry Monster from Sesame Street. The instant noods-inspired snack became so famous that the company is now named Mamee-Double Decker and, yes, it is also behind Double Decker crackers (and Mister Potato chips).
Do you like this? Check it out at http://www.kinos.com.my/Posted by Kinos Malaysia on Sunday, 8 March 2015
Chocolate Ding Dang
You are: a freebie queen/king who likes a gift with purchase, or in this case, a gift with your chocolates.
Fun facts: Back in the good ol’ days when copyright infringement was as evasive and elusive as the colleague who never ever Paynows you for her cup of kopi siew dai every afternoon, Chocolate Ding Dang was most easily recognised by its cartoon mascot which resembles (and even sounds like) that famous Japanese robot cat. But kids didn’t care. We only cared about which cheap plastic toy we would get inside our box of Chocolate Ding Dang!
But here’s the most important thing: Chocolate Ding Dang is manufactured by Malaysian company Kinos which also produces other retro and mostly-chocolate snacks like Tora and Hiro Chocolate Cake. Set up in 1982, it is just like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory… but in JB.
You are: an old soul who was 52 before you were even 12. After all, Hacks (and also Hudson) was seen as an “adult” kind of sweet which only very brave, special little kids would dare to ask for.
Fun facts: No other candy (albeit a medicated one) would have got away with using a gross icon of a gentleman with a hacking cough except, well, Hacks. Originally from the UK, these sweets were later made in Malaysia by Barkath Stores after its founder convinced the British manufacturers that people in this region liked to suck on hiam hiam sweets.
They now come in flavours like Honey Lemon, Blackcurrant and even Mandarin & Ginger or Clove & Apple. Then there’s the OG “regular” in its all-too-intimidating dark red wrappers. They are made with herbal extracts, menthol, eucalyptus and liquorice. Just the kind of candy for these pandemic times.