Chongqing Strange-Taste Horsebeans

Posted by on February 21, 2014
Strange, and proud of it!

Strange, and proud of it!

In our edible endeavors, we often come across things that taste strange. But it’s quite rare indeed to find a snack that’s actually proud of its strange taste. Such is the case with Chongqing Strange-Taste Horsebeans. Instead of coming up with some flavor euphemism like “wild” or “wacky” or “frizzlesnarf”, these horsebeans freely admit that they taste strange.

The back of the package includes a section entitled “A Brief Introduction to Chongqing Strange-Taste Horsebeans”. So while these horsebeans might be strange, they’re also reasonably friendly. We couldn’t actually read any of the introduction, but we assume it was rather cordial. After all, if these horsebeans are proud of their strange taste, they’d have no reason to be angry and bitter. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Adlay Oatmeal Deluxe.)

In spite of all this, we were still a bit hesitant to try these strange-taste horsebeans. Not because they taste strange, but because they’re horsebeans. We weren’t sure what to expect, since most things that start with “horse” don’t really have much to do with horses. Think of horseradish, for example. But other things do really relate to horses, and with a name like Strange-Taste Horsebeans, we were a bit worried about what we might be eating.

While we were never able to confirm the horse (or non-horse) status of these horsebeans, we can confirm that they do taste strange. They are very crunchy, and they proceed from an oddly sweet start to a mildly spicy finish. So far, neither of us have turned into horses, which is also a good sign. We can’t comment on any other flavor of horsebeans, but in terms of the strange-taste variety, they really aren’t too bad.

One Response to Chongqing Strange-Taste Horsebeans

  1. Erik Johnson

    I can’t read Chinese either, but I recently tried these. I detect “Chinese 5 spice” mix, caramelized sweetness, and something else. The coating is doubtless a form of fried flour with spice and sweetener. The beans are toasted fava beans (Vicia faba), for which “horse bean” is an obscure synonym, possibly because of the large size of the beans, or perhaps the plant is good horse fodder (it is not a vine, which doubtless simplifies its pasture culture). This is the bean used in Arab “fool madamas.” It isn’t popular in the U.S., where homeowners probably use it mostly as a cool season green manure for their soil, but is the ancient bean of the Mediterranean. Ironically, many people in the Mediterranean area have a mutation called “favaism” and for those people, fava/horse beans are unsafe. For the rest of us, it is a question of Chinese ethics and quality control–is the snack what it claims to be? So far, I am OK, but PDR China has had some pretty nasty safety scandals/scares in the food department (etc). Sans adulteration or pesticide residues, it should be fine for those w/o favaism or allergies to the other ingredients which I can’t read.

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