Thursday, December 4, 2014

McDonalds Green Bean Pie

Well this was just GROSS! 
So as you can see, just like in the West we have a number of special limited edition versions of McDonalds Pies out here in Asia. Unfortunately, tastes are quite different here and I would also suggest that the careful testers who have brought us such fantastic delights as the Mighty Ranger Burger and the Hello Kitty Wasabi Chicken Nuggets (with a free Hello Kitty Fairy Tale Doll pictured below) do not eat pies. They have never tried a pie. They have zero interest in pies. Perhaps they all go on holiday every Summer and a bunch of cretinous chimps take over their jobs for a while. Whatever the final explanation is though one thing is for certain, a lot of these pies SUCK so badly that it's hard to imagine they were ever allowed out of the testing kitchen (or science laboratory as may more likely be the case at McDonalds). 
Ok to cheer you up for a moment, before I continue my review of this atrocious product, here is a picture of the full series Fairy Tale of Hello Kitty dolls that came together with the special McNugget Meal Series: 
McDonalds Wasabi Chicken Nuggets and Hello Kitty Dolls
Ok back to the review now... 
Well apart from the terrible flavour of the ill conceived Green Bean Pie one of the other standout bad attributes is the texture. I mean the outer pie shell is just as crispy and yummy as ever, but the filling inside the pie essentially has the texture of booger or perhaps flubber. It is gooey and sticky and slimy and gloopy all at the same time. Then in the middle of all that gluey green gloop there are little dry lumps which are of course the actual green beans themselves, which apparently don't get moist no matter how long you cook them. Now if that's not a terrible combination of textures, I don't know what is. 
Have a look at this glorious picture to get a better idea of how those textures look: 
McDonalds Green Bean Pie Crazy from Kong
The last thing about this product that hits the final nail into the coffin of disgustingness that is Green Bean Pie is the fact that it can't even make up it's mind as to whether it's a sweet or savoury snack. The beans taste undeniably savoury, as do more or less all beans, yet are surrounded by clearly heavily sugared gloop that somehow still isn't exactly sweet. This dish doesn't know what it's supposed to be and the only certain thing about it is it's terribleness. 
Heck even the advertisement for it makes it look pretty atrocious as you can see here: 
China McDonalds Green Bean Pie Weird Asian Products
As if this terrible failure at making something super Asian that I presume was supposed to taste good wasn't enough for the folks at MickeyD's, they actually went on to make other Green Bean disasters like this horrific looking Sundae which I cover in another review: 
Hong Kong McDonalds Green Bean Ice Cream
All in all this was a miserable experience and poor Arne lost all confidence in my ability to select delicious Asian snacks for some months to come.
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Suntory Surfers Soda Review!

What a great concept for a drink! It's essentially marketed as the perfect drink to kick back with after a long hot day at the beach catching some serious waves on your surfboard. As you lie back and observe the awesome surfers and gorgeous babes around, you can sip on your Surf Mode Soda for the ultimate refreshment under the beating sun.

To reinforce the message of summer sun, sand and waves, the drink comes in these beautifully designed bottles you can see below which are the colour of crystal blue waters on a perfect day.
Suntory Surf Mode Soda Crazy from Kong
And here you can see a close up of the beautiful beach babe motif that adorns the Surf Mode Soda surfboard and no doubt indicates the type of people you are expected to associate with whilst enjoying your Surf Mode Soda.
Suntory Surf Mode Soda Crazy from Kong surfer babe
We also had a lot of fun shooting this review as we got dressed up in our best surf gear and donned our sunnies for a real beach style review. Heck we even featured Keanu Reeve's classic line from Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Adventure which consists of exactly one word "Woah...".
Keanu Reeves as a young teen in Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Adventure
And of course since it is produced by Suntory we featured a little Bill Murray too "for relaxing times make it Suntory time".
Bill Murray Suntory Whisky Lost in Translation
Overall this review was a lot of fun to produce, although I did struggle a little with my geography in the middle of it. As Arne was careful to point out (and later to subtitle in the video) after I made the rather ludicrous statement of "I can taste the Miami Sun, Hawaii here I come" , Miami and Hawaii are in fact nowhere near each other. Then he reminded me of my equally embarrassing mishap with our Pepsi Baobab review where I mistook the giraffes on the bottle for camels...
Spencer Douglass Crazy from Kong Arne Venema Suntory Surf Mode SodaSpencer Douglass Crazy from Kong Arne Venema Suntory Surf Mode Soda
Sadly as we drank more and more of the soda it actually became rather less refreshing and started becoming a bit too dry, losing sweetness and with a slightly odd aftertaste. I presume this is probably a result of the use of artificial sweeteners since it's supposedly a zero calorie drink. I never drinks with artificial sweeteners by choice and I rarely if ever am able to enjoy them for long. Still it was a fun review over all and the drink certainly has potential. If you are a zero calorie drink person then you'll probably love this one, as it's one of the best I've had in that group. 
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hakodate Wine Caramels はこだてわいんキャラメル and Nanae Sweet Apple Wine Caramels 七重スイートリンゴワイン キャラメル

Hakodate is a city in the South of Hokkaido that is apparently famous for making wine and Nanae is a small town nearby that is apparently famous for it's sweet apple wine. 
Hakodate Wine Caramels はこだてわいんキャラメル
I saw these wine flavoured caramels in my local 7 Eleven and thought they might make quite an interesting snack for young +Joe Fiorello and myself. To make things even more interesting after looking at the packet I found out that they actually contained a certain amount of real alcohol from the addition of actual Hakodate Wine to the sweet mixture. All of this had me quite excited! 

Unfortunately my dream of getting drunk with Joe in the middle of the afternoon by consuming delicious wine caramels was not to be... Turns out that the caramels did not taste of wine at all, just mild grape and to make matters worth there was nowhere near enough alcohol in them to have even a mild effect. 

The only consolation was that the Nanae Sweet Apple Wine Caramels which you can see below, where deliciously sweet and fall of apple scent and flavour. 
Nanae Sweet Apple Wine Caramels 七重スイートリンゴワイン キャラメル
Sadly this disappointing review went on to become our least popular of all time, despite the fact that Joe references it in a whole bunch of our future reviews. Perhaps you could watch the video below and help his dream of it becoming our most popular review come true! 

Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Enormous Filet-O-Fish Burger from McDonalds!

The Sakana Supreme Burger was one of the early special limited edition burgers released by McDonalds in 2010. According to Wikipedia "Sakana" written in Japanese as さかな means a snack or food to accompany alcohol. This certainly seems like an odd name for McDonalds to choose for one of it's burgers, though the burger itself is also pretty odd, but in any case it also goes on to explain that fish or dried fish have long been the most common accompaniment for alcohol, so Sakana often just refers to fish. 
Original version of Japanese special McDonalds Burger Sakana Supreme さかな
A rather boring conclusion to a situation where I was thinking that McDonalds might be about to offer me a shot of Sake to go with my special burger! And boring is a very relevant word for this review. You see Arne and myself (Spencer) had recently reviewed two other Hong Kong specialty burgers from MickeyD's, namely the Ebi (Shrimp) Burger and the Wasabi Burger (basically a Wasabi variant on Fillet-O-Fish) and both had been absolutely excellent. With these superb burgers still in recent memory, expectations were high for the Sakana Supreme and as always seems to be the case when you are expecting something great, it did not deliver. In fact as I declared in the video "The predominant flavour I'm getting in my mouth is boring". 
It's basically an oversized fillet-o-fish fried to much less crispy consistency than normal and yet much more oily, all packed into a super soft and tasteless bun. There was way too much decaying old lettuce and overall the burger was just way too big. The only redeeming feature was that the sesame sauce was quite good. However, they did away with this in future versions of the burger opting to combine the flavours of the much more delicious "Wasabi Burger" with the perhaps more interestingly named "Sakana Supreme" and started making this giant fish burger with wasabi mayonnaise instead as you can see from the picture below: 

Hong Kong McDonalds さかな
So overall a pretty rubbish burger of which the only thing I can say I'll miss is the special Sesame Sauce they created for it which was pretty good and I don't think I've seen it in another burger since. 

Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass

Monday, October 27, 2014

Green Tea Sprite - Crazy Asian Version of Sprite!!!

As you will know if you have read any of my other blog entries, it is pretty common for Asian countries to take super established and mostly untouchable products from the West and use them as the base to create all kinds of interesting, wacky and sometimes just plain awful variations for their home markets. Apparently the world famous products of the Coca-Cola Company are no exception.

So here we have it "Green Tea Sprite":
Coca Cola Company Green Tea Sprite
As the name quite clearly suggests it is essentially Green Tea flavoured Sprite, which is not at all a wacky concept in a part of the world were virtually everything comes in a green tea flavour (Oreos, Kit Kats, even whiskey drinks!). And to be honest Sprite x Green Tea seems like not too bad an idea, both are refreshing drinks with a crisp clean finish and Sprite already comes in signature green cans and bottles making the branding pretty straightforward. You can see them playing on the refreshing theme in the advert below: 
Coca Cola Company Green Tea Sprite
So what was it like? Actually it was very good! Crisp, clean with a strong yet not overpowering green tea flavour, neither sweet nor dry, not too "Sprite" and not too green tea (as some ice-cream flavours often are). Overall a very balanced and quite delicious drink and definitely one of the best strange "Asian-ised" version of a beloved Western product. 

The drink comes in all kinds of different shapes and sizes with both Chinese and English variations on branding as you can see below: 
Asian Green Tea Sprite
Chinese Green Tea Sprite
And of course in typical big brand style they roped in a top Asian celebrity to promote this exciting new drink. None other than the equally beloved Jay Chou (周杰倫) a man who has sold no fewer than 30 million records.

Here he is passionately presenting his new found joy in life:
Jay Chau Green tea Sprite 周杰伦
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pepsi Baobab - A Very African Soda!

Pepsi Baobab Crazy from Kong
If you read this blog or watch my food / drink review videos on the Crazy from Kong youtube channel then you will already be well aware that a lot of famous Western brands produce a lot of really wacky products for the Asian market and Pepsico is no exception! 
With a wide range of crazy limited edition products that includes Pepsi Ice Cucumber, Pepsi Blue Hawaii, Pepsi Caribbean Gold and Pepsi Salty Watermelon among many others, it's pretty clear that they are willing to push the boundaries of what are considered traditional soft drink ingredients. However, I have to admit that this one even surprised me somewhat in it's weird and wonderful wackiness! 
So essentially Baobab is a stunted looking African tree with an incredibly bloated looking trunk as it can store up to 100,000 litres of water to get it through the drought season. Usually the only reason why someone outside of Africa would have heard of them is because you learn about them in geography for exactly this reason. You can see a couple of examples of Baobab trees here: 
African Baobab Tree
Baobab Tree
Quite a random thing to flavour a commercial soft drink with, no? Apparently not! According to wikipedia people in Zimbabwe  use the crushed crumbly pulp "to stir into porridge and drinks" whilst states that the ground powder of the fruit is commonly mixed with water in Africa to produce a drink that tastes "somewhat like wine gums"! In addition the fruit has purportedly more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than cow's milk. Lots of reasons to make a weird gimmicky soft drink out of it!
But in fact the real reason why Pepsi suddenly decided to release this unexpected drink flavoured with one of the most recognisable plants that is native to Africa is because the world cup was being held there on that year and in fact that the soda was released just 17 days before the world cup started on March 25th 2010. For further proof here's the evidence right here:
African World Cup 2010
Now all this pointless information about why Pepsi does or doesn't release drinks that at first glance look like some marketers mad fantasy aside, perhaps we should pay some attention to the product itself.
So what did it taste like? Well to be honest, kind of boring... My buddy described it as "a mixture of flat coke and flat sprite" and that pretty much sums it up. The most disappointing thing for me is that I thought it would have some kind of extreme, exciting or at least strikingly unusual flavour that would immediately communicate the wild flavours of the African savannah to tamed and commercialised city-folk like me. Unfortunately almost the opposite was true. Apart from a slight herbal flavour it basically communicated a flat, mildly flavoured beverage which was clearly intended mainly as a marketing tool. Certainly nothing on the fearless flavour pioneers at Kit Kat Japan and not even up to the level of other limited edition Pepsico products like 7-up Clear Dry or Mountain Dew Grape.
To see our full thoughts on the product and reactions to our first taste, check out our review below:

Here are a few of the other crazy flavours that have been released by Pepsi in the last few years:
Limited Edition Pepsi
Red Bean Soda
Pink Pepsi
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Monday, April 21, 2014

7-Eleven Chilled Ramen Noodles - A Cool New Snack!

7 11 noodles
Chilled Ramen noodles in a handy plastic bowl from 7 Eleven, which operates 24 hours in Hong Kong and can be found on almost every street corner, certainly seems like a great idea for a healthy and tasty snack. 

Once we got it back to Arne's place we quickly found out that it was like a fun "do-it-yourself" mini-meal from 7 Eleven, as it came in a whole bunch of separate little packages inside the main container, which you had to blend together yourself and stir with the provided chopsticks. 

Using Arne's Spicy Chilled Ramen Set let's have a look at what was included and what this all entailed:
7-Eleven chilled ramen
This was the original container which the noodles and ingredients arrived in, but also serves as the "mixing bowl" where everything is combined 
Inside this little bag are a bunch of the main ingredients including cucumber and sliced up crab sticks (apparently made from fake crab meat)
As is pretty obvious, these are the "chilled ramen" noodles themselves 
Some delicious sweet soy sauce to add lots of flavour
Spicy chili oil to amp up the heat
Throw the noodles into the pot 
Add in the ingredients
Pour in the sauce and spicy chili oil
And voila deliciousness!
All in all, this was a delicious, inexpensive and possibly even healthy snack - I would definitely recommend it! To see our full reactions to the product as well as a demonstration on how to put it all together, check out the video below:

Here are a selection of other tasty varieties of cold noodles available from 7-Eleven Japan and Korea:
7-11 noodles

7 11 chilled noodles

7 Eleven spicy noodles
Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bear's Guarana Soda - The Most Dangerous Drink from Hokkaido, Japan!!


This is one of those wacky Japanese products that seems to come out of nowhere and makes very little sense, yet is essentially awesome! We found it on the shelves of the supermarket section of a giant Japanese department store in Hong Kong called Sogo and were immediately attracted by the terrifying image of the bear on the cover. 

This wonderful creature is the famous Ezo Brown Bear of Hokkaido an iconic image for the people from this part of Japan. Presumably the promise is that if you drink this Guarana laced drink you will become as ferocious and active as the pictured bear. 

The drink comes in two variations, the brown bear version as shown above and a second clear version with a picture of a white bear on the front, clearly described as being "not polar bear, but Ezo Brown Bear of Winter". This is what it looks like: 
The back of the bottle is also filled with all kinds of interesting descriptions about bears and Hokkaido which essentially make no sense and on top of that the main ingredient for the drink according to the list on the back, seems to be a potato... 

With all this entertainment one almost forgets about the drink itself, but it is actually very decent. Sweet, but not too sweet it is most similar to a mild version of an old school root beer mixed with a touch of bubblegum flavour. The white version, which is sweeter than the brown is more like slight bubblegum flavour mixed with Sprite. 

Check out our video below for the full review: 

Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kanikko Crab Snack - Eating Baby Crabs...

Well these were really a weird snack! This snack was bought for us by Emma Moosa and was essentially a bunch of tiny little deep fried crabs inside of some giant crab packaing. You can see what they looked like here: 
As you can see from the picture above, the crabs were presented in their entirety with their tiny legs, claws, shells and even eyes intact (presumably their tiny little brains too...). On top of that, these were not a variation of the ever popular "soft shell crabs" that are served in Japanese and some other Asian restaurants all year round, but rather appear to be regular hard shelled crabs just in small sized and fried to crispy. As a result they were still pretty tough and brittle, as Arne described "it was like eating teeth". The flavour was intensely fishy and they were pretty stinky to boot.

Overall this was very far from being a tasty snack and I think was a pretty gruesome experience for all involved. Check out our video review to see our full reactions and meet our special guest star Emma:  

Check out all our reviews of bizarre Asian snacks, foods and drinks here: Crazy from Kong!
And you can check out my blog here: Spencer Douglass Blog