I don't know how to begin to explain the origins my favorite family tradition, so I won't attempt to justify it. All I know is that for the past few years, several days before our Thanksgiving trip to Virginia, my mom stops by her favorite Asian grocery store. We wrap the sweet and savory treats in wrapping paper and load them into our carry-ons.
After stuffing ourselves with the classic Thanksgiving feast, no one has room for the pumpkin or apple pies that are waiting in the kitchen, but when a bag of colorful packages is passed around, everyone takes one. It's not Thanksgiving without trying some of everything: the seaweed, the pocky, the cracker nuts, the dried mango. I wouldn't have it any other way.
You may remember how much I love pocky. It's a little ridiculous. This time we had original, Men's pocky, caramel milk, and some very fancy patterned one that was excellent.
Dried fruit chips. These are actually not really very good, honestly.
Hi-Chews are amazing. I love the mango flavor most, but all of them are great.
Dried mango. Mmm.
I'm honestly perplexed as to why cracker nuts are not more common. They seem like the obvious solution to America's obsession with addictive snack foods. Over the peanut base is a coating made of a cracker and a topping of something powdery, salty, and delicious. When I'm a rich old man who watches football and drinks beer all day long, I will never be more than two feet from a bowl of hot and spicy cracker nuts.
Not pictured: lots of seaweed snacks and many intriguing types of ramen.