Previously, we talked about the childhood games that we loved and sometimes miss. Oh, you know, the games of the simpler times that either needed very little or nothing at all (except maybe hands and feet) yet provided hours of harmless fun. You know what else provided hours of harmless fun? Snacks like “Tora” or “Ding Dang”, because they came with toys. Or a pack of those super cheap fruit-flavoured bubble gum, which quite frankly lasted longer (in your mouths) than most of the newer brands today.
So, what were some of the most memorable childhood snacks that you grew up with? These were some of ours:
1. Ice Pop
They were also known as “tube ice cream” which served as instant refreshers in the hot and sweltering Malaysian sun. They were also awesome rewards at the end of every school day. There was absolutely nothing surprising about the sight of a throng of students in their primary school uniforms crowding the ice cream man or ice pop sellers outside the school compound, wrestling for their favourite flavours. Speaking of favourite flavours, which one was yours?
2. Tora & Ding Dang
If we guessed correctly, you bought these mostly for the toys that the boxes came with, rather than the actual snack itself. Don’t even lie. We know this because the chocolate coated biscuit balls were really nothing to shout about. The toys, however, were prized items to show off to friends at school. Until better ones came along, that is, which just gave us more reasons to buy more Tora or Ding Dang snacks. Tsks!
3. Iced Gem Biscuits
This is mostly just little biscuits with coloured icing sugar on top but they’re so addictive! The best part is, these iced gem treats are still available at selected hypermarkets and “pasar malam”s. They’re easily distinguishable because of their mini ice cream-looking tops. In fact, they’re really quite cute to look at. How many of you used to bite off just the coloured icing part and toss out the biscuit bottom? Or worse, how many of you would still do that regardless of your age today? 😉
4. Haw Flakes
Truth be told, tuition classes were definitely made more enjoyable with these to munch on. We’re not even sure why Haw Flakes were so appealing considering the fact that they weren’t/aren’t actually sweet. But they did, however, keep us awake during the dreaded after school tuition sessions (by the way, tuition classes is yet another childhood/80s baby thing worth mentioning, no?) and earned us brownie points with our classmates whenever we offered them.
5. White Rabbit Sweets
Also known as rabbit candy. Too much of this milky goodness could render you feeling “jelak” but too little of ’em would leave you begging for more. When it comes to the “White Rabbit” sweets, we only have one great unsolved mystery, one pressing question – “Are you or are you not supposed to eat the inner layer wrapper? And is it really made of rice?” Anyone knows? Drop it to us in the comments box below!
6. Chocolate Wafer (Red Foil)
Before gold-wrapped Apollo chocolate wafers, there were these red foiled wrapped wafers. Reminiscent of the simpler times, each bar contained just a single wafer. And because of that, one was never enough. We remember wolfing these down (so unhealthy but so worth it!) while watching episodes of MacGyver or Fullhouse, or any of ’em TV series of yesteryear. Good times 😀
7. Lemon Tablets
Oh yum. These pressed lemon tablets seriously brought the term, “melts in your mouth” to a whole new level. They were so good and so quick to “disappear” that arming your good self with just one stick simply wouldn’t have been enough. Actually, even 2 sticks wouldn’t have been enough. Admit it – you have probably gone through an entire pack in just one sitting before. And probably during classes in school, no less! We won’t judge you.
8. Mamee Monster
If you’re a kid from the 80s or the 90s, you would’ve at least tried Mamee Monster once or twice during your childhood. If you haven’t, where have you been? Not only does Mamee Monster bring back early memories of chasing down the “roti man”, the snack still exists till this very day. In fact, it’s practically a household name. We know of some friends with a few packs guiltily stashed away in their office drawers 😉
9. Cheap Bubble Gum
From the small, ball-shaped Marukawa ones (so small, they keep you popping more) to the ones with hidden tattooes. The best one was, however, the black and white chewing gum as well as the other ball-shaped ones that usually come in a pack of threes. They all provided hours of bubble-blowing fun! And best of all, they were super cheap and easily obtainable via your friendly neighbourhood rotiman. Can you say, “value for money”?
10. Sarsi Candy
This one is my personal favourite! A handful (about 5 pieces) of these sweets would cost only about 20 sen. I used to buy ’em at a random roadside stall (read: mamak) and buy about RM1 worth at one go – that’s about 25 pieces. And yuh, who cares if eating too much of these wonderful but hard Sarsi sweets would eventually lead you to cutting the roof of your mouth (because of the sharp lines between the valleys on the surface of the candy)?
11. Gold Coin Chocolates
Of course, by now, we would’ve tasted much better quality chocolates, but nothing can take the quirk out of the original gold coin chocolates. Though it tastes strangely like chocolate that’s made out of wax or rather, chocolates that are probably extremely unhealthy because of its cheaper quality ingredients, these gold coins faithfully kept us company during Chinese New Year visits.
12. Jelly Cups
Step aside, Konnyaku jelly, because clearly this one was here first. A favourite of 80s kids especially, these jelly cups come in an assortment of colours and some mild flavouring. You can either eat it on its own or chill it in the fridge for a bit before taking it out, peeling open the top, and wolfing down the entire thing. We went for the “chilling it in a fridge first” option. So yummy!
Which ones were your favourite too? Got any more that you think we should be adding to the above list? Let us know in the comments box below! We’d love to hear about your childhood snack too.