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Kitto Katsu

For years the Japanese (despite losing the Second World War) have enjoyed various different flavours of Kit-Kat while we here in the UK, where the damn thing was invented, have struggled on with the ‘entry level’ milk chocolate variety, oh of course we get the odd limited edition dark chocolate or orange chocolate variety, but those Kit-Kat Krazy Japanese dudes get to swan around tucking into all sorts of exotic, fun and downright vile flavours of Kit-Kat.

Why these varieties have never been officially been released to the UK public is beyond me, hell, I’ve even written to Nestle, (they bought Rowntree back in the 80’s corperate take over and merger fans) to demand answers! Of course they tried to fob me off with the ‘ahhh you get orange now and again, now piss off” response.

So I’ve been sitting in Belfast, on the internet, looking at pictures of Japanese Kit-Kats and dreaming about crème brulee and Lemon Cheesecake Kit-Kats while wasting my life and then bam! My mate Jar (who teaches in Japan) comes back home at Christmas and hits me up with this:

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A Melon, thats right, fucking Melon, flavoured Kit-Kat. I save this for a suitable date. A half day at work on a wet miserable February afternoon, no finer time. I’m getting me some of this.

First difference between this and a boring old european Kit-Kat, is the packaging. We get that little foil bag that you rip, while this comes in a beautiful cardboard box. I still miss the tin foil and paper sleeve, very satisfying ripping that. Anyway, inside the box is three individual foil packets and on opening each packet you are presented with two fingers of Kit-Kat. So that means six fingers per pack! Now, before anybody starts screaming “With Brexit we can take back control of our Kit-Kats and get six fingers in a packet!” You need to be made aware that the fingers are much smaller. Which is kinda odd. But I can dig it. They still look like Kit-Kat fingers.

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Needs banana for scale.

As you can see this melon Kit-Kat is, well, slightly yellow. It looks like a white chocolate Kit-Kat (ahhh limited edition ahhh). It feels like a Kit-Kat, has the consistency and texture of a Kit-kat but tastes like…. A fickin’ melon! It’s damn melon. This is awesome, this is ridiculous, this is brilliant, it’s a melon with a consistency of chocolate, and regular wafer too of course. This is fantastic, we are missing out. Write to your MP! Take to the streets! Protest at Nestle! Demand more interesting Kit-Kats. With Trump, Brexit, Russian hackers (alledged), Sexy North Korean Assassinesses and the ongoing threat of nuclear annihilation you deserve a Brown Suger flavoured Kit-Kat.  I honestly can’t get over how great this is, lucky for me I’ve got a Green Tea one hidden in the kitchen for the next shitty afternoon I’m off work.

Oh yes and…

  • Kit-Kats hit Japan in 1973
  • Most popular ‘wacky’ flavour is Soy Sauce. Soy Sauce. Let that sink in, Soy Fucking Sauce.
  • Kit Kat kinda a little bit translates to “you will surley win” in Japanese.
  • There have been over 300 limited edition Kit-Kat variates in Japan.

This is my mate Jar’s website: https://ikimasho.net/

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So my old pal Phil went to Iceland recently and since he knows I’m a fan of the unusual he kindly brought me back some weird stuff, here’s some of it:

Wind Dried Fish

I’ve been told it’s like Beef Jerky, that’s promising, I love Jerky. On holiday in Texas I once bought Turkey Jerky (say that, it’s fun) it was lovely, except I accidentally left it in the car in 44 degree heat, after an hour it was hard nails and completely inedible If you’re in that sort of heat, be careful where you leave your jerky. Anyway, no such problems here. This is haddock that’s been caught and then left to dry for several months, the Icelanders call it harðfisk and it’s a bit of a national dish. Originally it was used as a way of preserving fish for when times where hard, now it’s a protein rich snack. It was also beloved by Vikings and was on of the main food sources on those long sea journeys before the invention of the mess hall and the galley. Anyway, this stuff is quite nice, it would go down really well with a few beers, if you like fish, then you’ll love the dried fish. There is just one tiny problem…. The smell. It stinks, it really really stinks, the smell would put you off. I took some of this into work, a bloke I work with loves his fish and I thought he would be interested in this, obviously he was, but when I opened the air tight bag the rest of the people in the tea room where not so enthusiastic. I cannot explain how strong the stink is as the meat itself has a fairly light fish taste.

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Wind dried fish.  Not rotten decomposing fish.

Chance of catching on in NI? – Health nuts would love the protein value and it’s a great snack, but that smell? – Awful, worse than Whitehead on a hot day.

The Bread

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Bjork probably loved a sausage and Flatkokur sandwich

Now, Phil said the Icelanders eat this flat bread with some thinly sliced cheese. That’s a good idea, but I’ve got a better idea. I’ve got a packet of South American Corned Beef and some Polish Gouda, that’ll do the trick. I’m planning a 14 mile run for later so this should give me the energy to get going, I make two tasty looking sandwiches, toasting one in the George Foreman. The bread immediately reminds me of potato bread, it’s got a similar texture and is in the same ballpark taste wise, it’s actually really good! Toasted it is off course even better, like everything. The melted cheese and hot corned beef are fantastic, if Icelanders aren’t firing Polish Gouda and Corned Beef into this stuff then they are missing a trick. After my feed I hit the road, it’s run time and all is going well, until I’m eight miles in, corned beef should not have been eaten, I’m completely dehydrated and not feeling good, hell, I could drink from a puddle. A bottle of Boost (50p) from The Mace rehydrates me and it’s back home.

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Not recommended before a 16 mile run

Chance of catching on in NI? – I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t!

The Stryrkur

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Six of these before the gym and twenty seven after.

Alright! This looks like a normal tasty chocolate bar, you know the sort of thing people know and love? Except it’s not. It’s an Icelandic protein bar. Protein bars are everywhere these days, people are loving their protein, it’s all protein shake this and protein supplement that. I’ve even had a few myself, had one before I ran The Edinburgh Half Marathon and had a protein replacement bar after running the Belfast Marathon. Both of them tastes like crap. Supposed to be vanilla toffee or something, but it just tasted like, and looked like, sticky cardboard to me. But this one, actually looks alright, it looks tasty and even smells good! So it’s with great disappointment that I discover it has the chewing consistency of what I imagine slightly melted Tarmac to be like, and like the other protein bars I’ve had in my time it tasted like crap. Absolute crap.

Chance of catching on in NI? – Probably really high as everyone is obsessed with protein and running and turning over tractor tyres and stuff.

More to follow punk rock fans!

Five or Six years ago I was lucky enough to visit THE GREAT STATE OF TEXAS, one of the most amazing sights I saw there, aside from people wearing actual ten gallon hats and seeing steaks the size of a small child was being able to buy turkey sausages with bits of cheese inside. Seriously, that was a thing. It was also a thing I had to buy. Vicky put up a spirited fight, but there was no way I was going to let such a gastronomic wonder pass me by, it’s not like anywhere else on the planet is going to permit such a pairing of processed meat and processed dairy? Right? Wrong.

This is what the Turkey and Cheese Sausages looked like:

What a time to be alive!  Cheese?  In a Turkey sausage?

What a time to be alive! Cheese? In a Turkey sausage?

One of my friends even commented that “they where almost sick in their mouth” upon seeing this delight.

Six years later, back in the UK, I had given up all hope of ever finding such a travesty of processed animal by-product. But then I spotted these in the Polish section of Tesco. Costing a quid, this product is labelled as ‘best quality’ and if it says that on the label then this homogenised smoked cooked pork sausage with cheese and added soya protein must obviously be of best quality. Well the 77% pork leg must be anyway.

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My cookery teacher, a horrible shrew of a woman who did very little teaching and an awful lot of talking to other teachers, once screamed “The first taste is with the eyes now put that masher down you little shit, you’ll never amount to anything” and upon looking this shit my first thought was that this reminds me of what a human brain looks like. It’s a similar colour and what I imagine to be a similar texture. But I’ve never been one to shy away from a horrible colour or vile texture. I’m all set to tuck in.

I cut one in half and took a picture, the next day I took this picture into work and showed it to people, I asked my work colleagues what they thought it was. People reacted with what I can only call ‘shock and awe’. Asking things like:

  1. Is that pus?
  2. How old is that?
  3. OMG what is that?
  4. Did you send that to environmental health?
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I’ll admit, this is not attractive.

I explained it was processed cheese inside a mini hot dog, nobody seemed impressed. I was impressed though. So what did they taste like? They tasted like tinned hot dogs with bits of processed cheese slice inside. What’s not to like? Obviously this is something I liked, that is despite the weird colour. So I would imagine that these sausages are:

Good for:

  • Increasing your chances of colon cancer
  • Taking photos off and freaking out your work mates
  • Making your standard hotdog a bit different

Bad for:

  • Everything else.
  • Long term health prospects

This fine product from ‘Henryk Kania’ is exported to to the UK for sale to cheese infused mini hotdog craving Polish expats and weird bastards like me. It’s available from big assed Tesco shops that have chilled Polish stuff and probably from Polish Supermarkets in dodgy provincial towns like Glengormly and Coleraine.

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Weird looking.

6/10 Would smuggle into the house again.

The aul Greeks are in a bad way, countries broke, everybody is skint and unemployed, immigrants scaring off the tourists on Kos and Lesbos and some superbank demanding everybody looks down the back of their sofas for loose change to give to Germany. Generally The Greeks (a great bunch of lads) are having a shit time. I decided to do my bit to help their export market by buying some Greek made Moussaka. We’ve all had Moussaka right? It’s Greeces equivalent of Lasagne, their Chilli-con-carne, the Ulster Fry of the Aegean Sea. Their national bastard dish. It’s a staple when you visit a Greek island on a package holiday, along with Mythos beer, feta cheese, rabbit meat and drunken tourists. It’s also a freshly produced Marks and Spencer classic, always on the Dine in for £10 meal offer. If you don’t know what moussaka is (then your a fuckin numpty) it’s a layered dish of minced lamb, aubergine, potato, and a lovely Bechamel sauce. It’s a hearty, filling, warming, rewarding dish popular all over the former Ottoman empire with loads of regional variations. What I’m saying is it’s hard to beat a moussaka, it’s a tasty tasty dish.

This is what it’s supposed to look like.

So when I spied CANNED MOUSSAKA on sale in the Jonny Foreigner section sporting a 20p off offer, I was all over that shit.

The finished product.  Fatburg on a plate.

The finished product. Fatburg on a plate.

And shit is what it was. It looked vile, it tasted terrible. It was oily, it was slimey, it won’t be bought again. As you can see from the picture (and yes, I ate that) it looks NOTHING like the Mousakka you’ll find in Marks And Spencer, it doesn’t even come close to the Limited Edition Mousakka that Iceland sometimes put out and it’s a whole continent away from what any Greek restaurant will serve you. What it does look like is one of those Fatburgs that you see on TV when there is a show about the sewers in London on. Taste wise it tasted exactly like I imagined. It’s a canned mousakka. What was I expecting? I was expecting Aubergines and Bechamel sauce, and they where indeed there, according to the ingredient list, but it just didn’t work. The sauce was dry and listless, the mince was suspect, the aubergine was a token gesture. You want mousakka? Better get down to M&S or Greece, go to Greece, bring money.

Buy it in Tesco for a about £2 or off this website for £5.92. Probably the worst £5.92 anybody will ever spend ever.

RoadBlasters

Location: Barrys, Portrush

This:

roadblasters

Inserted many coins over the years

RoadBlasters, one of the first arcade games I ever played. The machine was in Barry’s Amusements in Portrush, for anybody who doesn’t know, Barry’s was as close to a theme park as you could get in Northern Ireland, only it’s not close to a theme park, it’s like really far away. Anyway it had some rides, some arcade machines, a Ghost Train, Hobby Horses and as many 2p One armed bandits as they could cram in. Nestled amongst the arcade machines was RoadBlasters, I remember standing and watching the demo for what seemed like an hour, but was probably more like 30 seconds, being 9 or 10 years old I had limited experience of arcade games but the idea of driving a car and shooting other cars really appealed to me, so it was money in, foot on the gas pedal and away, of course I was rubbish at it and didn’t get very far. Still, I loved it, and had to play again, and again. After a Few goes and a pocked emptied of old sized 10p coins (two shillings) I worked out to shoot and successfully remember the enemy attack waves and that the the green pods provided extra fuel and shouldn’t be dodged. Eventually I got passed levels one and two, and RoadBlasters became a regular feature of my trips to Portrush. This game is still highly playable, it’s on the Midway Arcade Treasures comp for the Playstation II, find it, play it, it’s arcade perfect and bloody brilliant, unlike the home micro conversions….

Home Micro conversions may not be as much fun as advert would have you believe.

Home Micro conversions may not be as much fun as advert would have you believe.

Previously I had been unable to acquire a pirated version of RoadBlasters for the Speccy, despite taping pretty much every game available thanks to the excellent Spectrum User Support Group that operated at school, actually that was the ONLY decent thing at my school.

Christmas 1989 (or 90?) I got US Gold’s Coin-Op Hits for my humble Spectrum, it was part of one of those compilation packs which also contained:

  • The woefully converted ‘Thunderhawk’ – what’s the point without the wobbly seat?
  • The fun in a bun and never ending ‘Spyhunter’. Thankfully easier than the arcade version, but just as brilliant.
  • Expandable arm based antics with ‘Bionic Commando’ – Got a bit boring after the first level.
  • The Gran Turismo of the day ‘Outrun’ – ahh shitsticks it’s the 48k version, I’ve a 128k machine here! Where’s the detail and awesome music?

So eventually I got to fire up RoadBlasters on my cutting edge 128k Sinclair Spectrum +2a of course it was a real stinker, it was utter cack compared to the top down scrolling shoot-a-thon that was ‘Spyhunter’. You ever play that in the arcade? Now that’s bloody difficult, learn all the attack waves you want you’ll need reactions like a WWII fighter pilot on speed. The Spectrum version of RoadBlasters was a massive disappointment, as I remember, it was awfully slow and really chuggy, generally utter crap compared to the arcade versions, but that’s hardly surprising since it was converted to run on a 48k home micro. So since I had Spyhunter to play it was also swiftly switched off again. Even though I had a copied version of Spyhunter I fired up the legally acquired copy, just to see if it was any different. Obviously it wasn’t going to be, but as a 14 year old I thought that there might be.

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Oh yes, that will be the Spectrum version.

When I got an Amiga I made sure it was one of the first games I acquired, again, pirated obviously, for a teenager with no income full price Amiga games where a rarity. Of course Roadblasters wouldn’t run on an Amiga 500+, just the older A500. So I only got to play it briefly on my mate Toppers machine. The Amiga version obviously ran a lot faster and looked much prettier, but even by the standards of early Amiga games it wasn’t much to get excited about. He thought Roadblasters sucked. I wanted it to be good, it wasn’t.

Compared to the Speccy version this was jaw dropping (from Hall of Light Amiga database)

Compared to the Speccy version this was jaw dropping (from Hall of Light Amiga database)

It would take until Midway Arcade Treasures on the PSII before I got to play a decent home version of Roadblasters, it’s aged well, still a challenge and still has that all important ‘one more go’ thing going on. These days proper arcade machines are rare and hard to find, a Roadblasters almost impossible, but then I havent been in Barrys in 20 years, there might still be one there.

To see RoadBlasters starring in ‘Wreck It Ralph’ reminded me how awesome a game it was.

A fitting tribute.

A fitting tribute.

More Info:

http://hol.abime.net/1248

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RoadBlasters

http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=9332

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0004157

The custard cream is the most durable hard working biscuit in the history of biscuits. Who doesn’t like a custard cream? A Bastard, that’s who. You show me somebody who doesn’t like a custard cream and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know a good biscuit (or someone who takes personal health seriously, one of the two). I’m a long time fan of the ‘cream, it is a very versatile biscuit. It’s good on it’s own, it’s good with tea, it’s good with coffee, it’s not over powering, pretentious, offensive or obscene. There’s no need for fancy wrappers or promotions, when was the last time you saw an advert on telly for Custard Creams? No needed, not like Foxes and their range of ‘biscuits of the future’ It’s an all round timeless, faultless biscuit. Fact.

The amazing thing you can do with a custard cream, and you’ve all done it, don’t try and deny it, is to pick out the custard cream filling (using either a piece of cutlery or a dirty finger nail) and enjoy that processed crud on it’s own. One of my favourite things to eat when I was a teenager was a custard cream sandwich. Get two slices of white toast, layer it with custard creams and get tore in. Some people might think that’s a bit weird or gross, but to hell with them. Having the biscuit bit in the sandwich wasn’t ideal, but who had time to pick out all that filling and put it on toast? This was back in the late 80’s and I was busy playing Dungeons and Dragons computer games and listening to Man-o-war. There wasn’t time to dissect a whole packet of yellow pack custard creams, and like hell anybody else was going to do it for me.

Thankfully though I wasn’t the only nutjob fantasising about vats of processed sugary custard cream flavoured goo because the good people at Tesco have come up with this:

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I hope it’s never discontinued. Ever.

It is heaven in a jar. It is custard cream filling. In a jar. IN A JAR. And it is versatile. Here’s some of the uses of this fine product:

  1. Eat it out the jar using a spoon like the animal you are. In a pinch you could even use a finger.
  2. Get two Digestives, Rich Tea, Penguins (could get messy) or any combination of biscuit and work away. You can’t fail here. Cream in the middle and then bam!
  3. Two wholemeal crackers. It’s like a healthy custard cream, practically one of your five a day. Crackers. Yep, get two Tuc crackers and fill the middle with Custard Cream, now you have a savoury custard cream. Want to gross it up? – Use a pre-made Tuc sandwich! You get the strange creamy cheese bit, your own custard cream bit and another Tuc on top. Three layers of Tuc, one of cheese and one of custard cream.
  4. Put it on bread. Not very exciting, but it is good. Very good.
  5. The jar says something about waffles. Probably not the Birds Eye ones from Iceland. Although I bet that would be alright.
  6. Do what you want with it. It’s that good.
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Between an oatmeal cracker and a Tuc Sandwich? – It’s impossible to make Custard Cream Spread gross.

Oh and there is a Bourbon one too. I intend to mix them together as soon as I get the house to myself.

The Balaton

This must be one popular bar because it’s available everywhere in Budapest. The Balaton is named after the biggest lake in Hungary and has been sold for donkeys years. It’s now made by the hated by right on hippies Multinational Nestle, who bought the rights to make this product from Hungarian company Győri Keksz Kft a few years back, these fellas have been pumping out the biccys and choccys to hungry Hungarians since around 1900 and are still at it today. The Balaton was very popular in communist times and still popular today. Word is it hasn’t changed a bit either. Think big assed finger of Kit-Kat but with (a lot) thinner chocolate and (a lot) more wafer. It is just ‘alright’, In defence though it is sweet, tasty and low on crumbs – I can see why it was popular behind the Iron Curtain.

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In recent years the range has been expanded to include the Balaton Bumm, not sure what that is but it is fucking funny. There was a few different types and sizes, including one known as Balaton Bumm. I opted for the regular, well it does have ‘Minden 4. nyer’ plastered across the front of it. I thought this might be the price in Hungarian, but no. A quick google translate shows this to be “all 4 win”. This bar is not a winner. This bar is a disappointment. The Balaton is just wafer and chocolate, it’s so dull and pointless I am surprised it hasn’t been available here for years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, it’s just boring. It’s very similar, obviously, to the Cadbrurys Wafer Bar and that’s no bad thing. I just expected something a bit more wacky from my Hungarian all 4 winning chums.

Yes, I've set it on my coaster, and that's a coffee ring.  I'm vile.

Yes, I’ve set it on my coaster, and that’s a coffee ring. I’m vile.

The Kapucíner

Made by the completely unpronucable Ízvilág company this is a choccy bar with a coffee and cream filled centre. It’s made with real coffee and has been keeping Hungarian kids pepped up for years. It’s an acquired taste; in that if you don’t like coffee you wont like this. I do like coffee therefore I do love this.

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cool pic, you can tell I didn’t take it.

Vadasz

Not to be confused with the Birmingham punk band Valdez. This is a small 25g Chocolate bar with an alcohol infused fondant filling. Unlike Valdez who where a political punk band. It’s available in several different flavours; there’s sour cherry, sour cream and chocolate cherry (not mention of anything sour in that one). The only one I could get was the Sour Cream one. It’s better than it sounds, the word ‘sour’ seems to imply something different different in Central/Eastern Europe. Like Polish Sour Soup, if you saw ‘Sour Soup’ on a menu here you would avoid it because it sounds rank. But in Poland it’s a national dish, and take it from me, it is amazing.

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But enough about sour soup, back to the sour cream and alcohol chocolate bar. So according to Google Translate the flavour of sour cream is reminiscent of the Black Forest and that works for me, the alcohol in the bar is cherry based and the alcohol contents is around 2%, so it’s probably possible to get bolloxed on these, but you would probably die of hyper obesity or diabetes before you got the courage to make a drunken pass at a lány. So the Green bar is Sour Cream (with Cherry based alcohol) and the red bar is Sour Cherry. Not sure how they are different but if I ever see the red bar in the BelfastABC (Hungarian shop, Great Victoria Street) or get back to Hungary – you’ll be the first bastards to know.

It's kinda small. Should really use a banana for scale.

It’s kinda small. Should really use a banana for scale.