Snack Food International

Unusual treats from Knoxville's foreign-food groceries

Even though exotic fruits and vegetables can be used in interesting and filling meals, one of the best things about prowling through international groceries is finding all the good stuff that's bad for you.

Serious snackers won't want to miss out on Sunrise Supermarket's Green Peas and You. This salty treat serves up the soon-to-be-classic combination of wasabi crusted peas, almonds, and tiny anchovies, complete with their dried little heads and tails. If that appeals to you, don't miss getting a separate jar of Natural Crispy Season Anchovies with sesame. But should you shun the little fish, reach out for a bag of Sour Cream and Onion Shrimp Snacks or, perhaps, lobster cracker.

Not sold on the savory snack? Try out the Taiwan Green Onion Pineapple Cake. It's kind of a like a Fig Newton—but not.

Potato chip lovers can really get their exotic crunch fix with Masala Madness Potato Crisps from Lay's, available at the India Market. They're a spicy lot, but they're remarkably low in sodium. If you thrive on the texture of crunchy Cheetos, you'll appreciate Kurkure Masala Munch. Masala flavor varies—it can be spicy, as these snacks are, with a combination flavor of clove, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and black pepper and red chili.

You can also sate the sweet tooth with a little box of gulab jumun—soft cheese dumplings that swim in cardamom-flavored sugar syrup.

Mi Pueblo stocks Mexican snacks that are little more familiar to the inveterate snacker but fun nonetheless. The geographically correct south-of-the-border flavor combos leave Doritos behind. Try out some Churrumais, fried corn strips with spicy lemon flavor. Better yet, Takis Guacamole corn snacks have a great crunch with mild green chili and avocado flavors.

Things get a little weird with Salsagheti: It's a pack of tubular mango gummies with a warm chili coating and includes a packet of piquant tamarind sauce for a miniature and slightly surreal pasta and red sauce moment from the candy aisle.

For sweets, though, there's almost nothing sweeter than the Quality Turkish Market's homemade baklava in all its gooey and honeyed glory, unless you're a big fan of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in which case you may crave Turkish delight. This jelly-like and sugar-dusted morsel is a magic mouthful of confection, to be sure—it's available in different flavors, like rose and pistachio, but evil witches and talking lions are not included.