Strange Snacks of the World -- Cracker Nuts

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Everyone has heard of Beer Nuts (redskin roasted peanuts) and corn nuts (roasted or deep-fried kernels), but what about cracker nuts?

I stumbled on these tandem products--manufactured by Food Industries, Inc. in Manila under the Nagarya label--in a Philippine grocery on West Side Avenue in Jersey City, on a stretch south of Communipaw Avenue that contains perhaps a dozen Filipino restaurants, some of them quite good.

The product consists of a peanut coated in wheat-flour dough and deep fried. In the adobo version, the crunchy coating is pale and slightly spicy, named after a vinegary stew that, known as chicken adobo, constitutes the national dish of the Philippines. The original recipe came from Mexico, through which the Philippine colony was administered in the era of Spanish colonialism. Needless to say, the Filipinos have adapted it extensively, adding vinegar and soy sauce, among other things.

The garlic flavor tastes a little sweeter, and is very garlicky, with a slight afterburn. An entire bag of either weighs in at 900 colories, but then this isn't supposed to be diet food.

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Above, a garlic cracker nut shown whole and in cross section. Below, the adobo version, intact and exloded. photo credit: Fork in the Road Institute for the Study of Snack Foods

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