This week, we're going to play guinea pig. Or more accurately, I'm going to play guinea pig and Erin agrees I shouldn't crazy alone (it tends to unsettle the Koreans). Anyway, our convenience store features an array of children's snacks, all vibrant, sugary promises - joy in plastic packaging. And I want them. All of them. I'm feeling especially masochistic today. We buy an armload of diabetes at the CVS. No, the convenience store clerk does not laugh at us. And he most certainly does not shake his head in judgement. Erin doesn't believe me, but I insist it's perfectly natural for two adults to grab all the sugar-blasted madness Korea has on offer and dash off giggling.
Shut up. Stop giving me that look.
Anyway, first up on our taste adventure is a trio of brightly colored gems:
On the upper left, we have a very excited young lady shouting slogans and vibrating with joy for what looks like candied limes. Next to her is a mystery, something that feels like taffy but has a picture of cola. Lastly Larva snacks. Yes, that Larva.
We try the Larva first. We want to get the crazy stuff out of the way. But as I unwrap the packaging, I am rapidly underwhelmed. It's just gum.
Once away from all the cartoons, the Larva treats look and taste like tangerine leather. Come on, Larva. I was expecting more insanity!
Recklessly moving on, I grab the soda taffy.
I peel away the packaging and find a limp, brown turd. I might have mistaken it for caramel, except it smells like mummified Pepsi.
Time for a taste.
If you've ever licked the crust off an old, forgotten soda machine, you've got the gist. Erin giggles at my sadness. Then of course, she has to try some.
Hoping to cleanse our palates, we grab the box with the vibrating girl. Inside, we find a dozen individually wrapped treats, each about the size of a small gumball.
They look like toothpaste and smell like sour apple. Concentrated sour apple. Still, it isn't dead cola. I pop one in.
I chew for a second, thinking "Huh. This isn't so bad." Then the flavor hits, like a million sour patch kids just pooped on my tongue.
Lisa Simpson said it best. Erin tried one and promptly spat it out. And that's all we really need to say about those.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG. Because of course we're not done yet.
Next we had a monster head.
These have been popular in Korea lately. Often, I'll find them shaped like Iron Man, or Spider Man, or even Disney characters like Mickey Mouse. I've always been curious to try one. Now's my chance.
The verdict? Chocolate. Plain, comforting, normal chocolate. Of the milk variety, to be precise. Our taste buds were momentarily soothed.
Time for something more exotic.
Yes, that is chocolate covered shrimp. And yes, they are advertised to look like rabbit turds. So of course, we HAD to try some.
If Hershey's and the Gorton's Fisherman got together, put on some Barry Manilow, dimmed the lights, and had a little private time, THE RESULTING UNHOLY SPAWN WOULD STILL TASTE BETTER THAN THIS ABOMINATION.
...so of course I hand the bag to Erin.
They're not that bad! Seriously! I was just exaggerating a little. To be funny. You know, hah, hah! Try one!
So the lesson is, I'm a bad person, and I feel the need to share my pain.
MOVING ON! Because you know we're not done yet.
We've saved what we consider the safest options for this, our final stage. We've got his and hers kinder eggs, and a riotously designed package labelled "Cookie Run." I'm picturing something like chocolate chip, for some reason.
Anyway, I bust open the kinder eggs and...
...find something that is not an egg. On one side, we have a plastic outline of someone's head. On the other, some gold foil. This requires further investigation. I peel the foil.
But the mystery deepens. Now I have what looks like the traditional kinder egg toy on one side, and a recreation of the interior of a mutant egg on the other. So of course I grab the plastic head outline and shovel some sugar-yolk into my mouth.
It tastes like chocolate puff balls in a bed of painfully sweet vanilla cream. I am baffled. And oddly disappointed. Erin has, by this point, left to bleach her tongue. So it is up to me to assemble our toys. The girl's is some kind of friendship bracelet.
The boy's looks like a Korean Ancestor-Wheel-of-Fortune game.
Fine. So the kinder eggs were underwhelming. But at least I still have my cookie. See? It says cookie!
This is gonna be awesome. All cookie goodness and...
My cookie appears to be a chunk of rubber with a frowny face that looks like it needs medical attention.
No. My box is supposed to have a cookie. I want my cookie.
I check it again.