Korean “churros”

We try random snacks from the Korean shop next to us from time to time.

Devvers favours bold stuff, often with “prawn” flavours, while I normally opt for milder things: seaweed based snacks, coconut-flavoured rolls, etc.

This time, though, we found something that looked too absurd to be true: Korean churros!

I was deeply confused! They even had the Spanish flag and an “original” seal! And “¡HOLA!” with the proper exclamation marks. What was going on?

Of course I had to try them, so you don’t have to! 😂

Two Korean churros
Two Korean churros

These things are small and crunchy, instead of long and spongey. They’re biscuit sized, and the texture vaguely resembles the texture of what we call barquillos.

There’s also a very strong sense of “artificiality” to them: with each bite you take, you can’t but think of the machine that mixed the dough at astronomical speeds, emitted periodic splurrrts and placed the raw cylinders on a super hot fryer to emulsionate and solidify them.

What is in this, I wondered?

Wheat flour, vegetable oil (Palm oil, sunflower oil, antioxidant 307b), brown sugar, white sugar, five grains powder (soybean powder, brown rice powder, barley powder, yellow bean powder, black rice powder), maple syrup, cinnamon powder, raising agent (503, 500), salt, acacia honey powder, artificial maple flavour.

W o w.

Just… wow.

No wonder I was tasting such “artificiality” in this—it literally has artificial flavours 😂

In contrast, what’s in a traditional Spanish churro?

Wheat flour, water, salt.

And any sugar you want to dip them in. Very different!

It’s time for The Verdict:

  • Grossness level: 7/10. It’s not like churros are a “healthy food” to start with, but this has a lot of ingredients. At least it doesn’t have MSG… I think.
  • Offense amount: I think I feel more amused than offended. Maybe the aesthetics softened things and predisposed me to not feel offended. At least it’s in the right “quadrant” of flavour (sweet), they didn’t try to make them savoury or spicy or anything of that sort.
  • Would I give it a go? Well, I did! But I don’t think I will buy it again, though.

Bonus: of course, being trained in scanning lots of QR codes recently, I scanned the QR code in the bag. And it brought me to this video which is quite something:

Funnily, seeing the churros become the pillars for the Sagrada Familia in the video made me reflect that maybe churros are one of the hidden structures that underpins Spanish society.

Merienda in a chocolatería. Putting wrongs to right, all together.

It all starts early, with meriendas in traditional chocolaterías with the extended family, where grandparents teach the grandchildren to dip churros in sweet, thick dark chocolate.

The journey continues with the reassuring smell of freshly fried churros on Sunday mornings as churrerías start their shift early when everything else is shut and you’ve spent the entire night up partying; partygoers crowd around the table and revisit the night’s anecdotes while padding their stomach with a fluffy sponge of carbohydrates coated with oil and sugar and (perhaps) more hot chocolate—that will keep them going until they make their way back home.

And then there are the romantic walks in autumn, awkwardly trying to eat churros out of a greasy paper cone, without ending up with a “sugar beard” or (much worse) with the sugar all over your scarf and jacket…

So, as you can see, churros are a thing in Spain.

Chocolate, churros y buñuelos in perfect harmony
Chocolate, churros y buñuelos in perfect harmony

That said, I’m also very aware that culture travels really fast across the globe these days, and the way things end is not always what they started with.

For example, I have a vague, jetlagged memory of eating them in Tokyo (although I don’t remember anything outstanding about them). Then the last time I was in San Francisco, we saw churros in the buffet. My friend Belén and me decided to try them out of curiosity (and I suppose to judge them too 😂).

Of course, they were incredibly, disgustingly sweet as the dough was sweetened, the chocolate sauce they were served with was also sickly sweet, and the sugar they were sprinkled with contained cinnamon. Which Spanish churros don’t (maybe Mexican churros do?).

We just brushed it aside: ah, Americans, and forgot about it.

What I didn’t know is that the experience would prepare me for Korean churros! 🤪

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