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Munch Munch
Photo: Munch Munch

The best old-school childhood snacks from Singapore

Revisit your childhood days with these old-school snacks we saved our allowance for

By Huang Junyi and Delfina Utomo
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How did we become a nation obsessed with food and snacks? We start 'em young. Iconic ice lollies, mini chocolate cakes in foil wrappers, ring pops and the strong smell of Hacks sweets – we hope you're getting nostalgic. Thankfully, most of the snacks are still available in shops and specialty stores so we don't have to depend on nostalgia. Here are some childhood snacks we love in Singapore.

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Want Want Rice Cracker
Photograph: Want Want/Facebook

Want Want Senbei Rice Crackers

Something we definitely want (want) as a snack are the senbei rice crackers. These light, airy biscuits are coated in an addictively sweet and salty powder. Gobble the crackers and then give your fingers a good lick – just to make sure you get every bit of the seasoning. Want Want's Xue Bing and milk snacks are just as nostalgic and delicious. 

Panda Seasoned Seaweed
Photograph: via Shopee

Dried seaweed

Who needs lunch when you can just eat 20 packets of dried seasoned seaweed? That's how difficult it is to stop eating these. It helps that the seaweed snack is ridiculously cheap, and comes in a convenient string of packets that you can fold up and carry everywhere. 

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Monde Pola Snack
Photograph: via Wang Wang

Pola Snacks

These hollow snacks are best eaten by the handful for maximum crunch and saltiness. That's just our opinion – some people also love to bite the cracker in half before munching just to see the hollow insides. However you like to eat these, Pola snacks are undeniable childhood favourites. 

Dahfa dried fish fillet
Photograph: via NTUC Fairprice

Dahfa Dried Fish Fillet

A potentially polarising snack – after all, what's savoury and delicious to one person could just be plain fishy to another. Nevertheless, Dahfa dried fish fillet gives us major throwback vibes. Now that we're all grown up, it pays to experiment with different ways to enjoy the snack. Some people microwave it for an extra crunch, or even make dipping sauces to go with the dried fish. Some even soak it to get a dashi situation going for cooking purposes. Genius.

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Ice Pops

Ice pops

Sizzling heat and ice-cold sweet snacks – a magical combination. Nutrition-wise, we haven't got a clue but these ice lollies are a timeless favourite. The colourful and iconic dessert is the best way to triumph the muggy Singapore weather. Plus, it's cheap too. 

HACKS Honey Lemon, $1.70/pack

Hacks sweets

Hack away the cough with Hacks, a strong-smelling mint that will remind us of all the times we got sick in our childhood. We don't know if it even works or not, but you can still find Hacks sweets being sold at convenience stores everywhere. 

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Mamee Monster, $0.50

Mamee Monster

We should all know by now that Mamee is not an instant noodle. This snack noodle requires no cooking, and we can safely say we prefer it that way. There are many ways to eat this snack, but our favourite is crushing the noodles first before adding the flavoured salt. That salty sting you taste? That's tasty, tasty MSG for you. 

Iced Gem Biscuits, $1
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Iced gem biscuits

Over the years gem biscuits have somewhat become an icon in Singapore, appearing in jewellery, accessories and even home décor – as throw cushions. Still, we'll always fondly remember these super sweet, fun-sized and pastel-hued biscuits of our childhood.

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Hiro Chocolate Cake, $0.50

Hiro Chocolate Cake

Can't get the real deal? That's okay, we 90s kids just settled for Hiro Chocolate Cake, a mini dry (a little bit too dry if you ask us) sponge cake that is coated in chocolate. What it lacks in taste, it makes up with the nostalgic feeling of ripping open the foil wrapper during recess for all the times your packed lunch was not enough. 

Wheel Crackers, $1

Wheel crackers

Say what you want but this will still remain one of the best snacks around in Singapore. Delightfully salty (it's MSG again, this we're sure), cheap, readily available in shops and supermarkets and addictive, this potato-based cracker is wheel-y good. 

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Houten Chili Tapioca Chips, $0.50

Chilli tapioca chips

Though not the best-looking snack there is, these tapioca chips remains to be one of the most popular local snacks around. Spicy, sweet and sticky all at once, it's quite a messy affair when you get started on a pack. 

Haw Flakes, $1.20/pack

Haw flakes

Made from Chinese hawthorn, Haw flakes were actually eaten before ingesting bitter Chinese medicine so its snack status is pretty surprising. Plus, we're super sure the iconic packaging has something to do with its popularity. 

 

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Popo Muruku Ikan, $0.30

Popo muruku

The most memorable thing about this entry-level muruku is probably the minimal design of the wrapper. Who can forget the crawling baby on the packaging? While it's not big on flavour – you're better off with real and authentic muruku that costs just as much – it doesn't mean that it's any less addictive. 

Bangle Chocolate, $0.50

Bangle chocolate

More for its novelty than actual nutritional value (and taste), the Bangle/Eyeglass chocolate (don't be fooled, there's no real chocolate here) sweets were useful during playtime when you need to prescribe "medicine". 

 

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Biscuit Piring Wafers, $1
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Biscuit Piring

The best thing about these wafers? The colours. There really isn't much to say about its super bland taste but we love the pastel colours it comes in. If you're lucky, you might find these fragile, papery wafers in old-school bakeries around the neighbourhood. 

Ring Pop, $1
Ahmad Iskandar Bin Mohamed Ibrahim // Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Ring Pop

Advertised – like crazy – during Saturday morning cartoons, novelty Ring Pops promised a seemingly never-depleting source of sugar. Plus, they come in really pretty retro colours that make you want to collect the whole set – but also question hygiene-related things like "how do I store this for later consumption?" and more.

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Preserved Mandarin Peels

Preserved mandarin peels

A snack for acquired tastes, sun-dried mandarin peels are spiced lightly so you get an aftertaste that is slightly bitter. It also makes for a useful snack if you are feeling nauseous – some even carry them in their bags when travelling to get over motion sickness.

Magic Dust, $1

Magic Dust

Perhaps the most exciting snack on the list, Magic Dust will take you on a most peculiar sensory experience. Sweet and sour at the same time, the popping and crackling magic that happens in your mouth with a spoonful of magic dust still amazes us years on. 

 

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Pop Pop Sweet Corn Rolls, $1

Pop Pop sweet corn rolls

Popular as goodie bag fillers, these corn crackers may be hollow in the middle but they sure pack a punch. Salty, peppery and also slightly sweet – basically, it's easy to get addicted on this snack. 

Super Ring, $0.50
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Super Ring

Known for being brightly orange and staining your fingers, these cheesy Super Rings have definitely survived the era. You can still find them in supermarkets – still in its original packaging. flavour-wise nothing has changed much but yes, they still stain your fingers. 

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Where to buy them

Nelly's Retro Snacks
Photograph: Nelly's Retro Snacks/ Facebook

Nelly's Retro Snacks

Restaurants Hawker Yishun

Nelly's Restro Snacks is a candy shop for both the young and young at heart. You'll find lines of biscuits, sweet treats, and snacks – stored in nostalgic biscuit tins. 

Biscuit King

Shopping Bakeries Bukit Timah

A unique biscuit shop selling old-school snacks that we had back in the days. In here, reminisce your childhood with snacks like gem biscuits and chocolate wafers. Make a trip down for a major throwback to your childhood. 

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Munch Munch

Shopping Bakeries Chinatown

Hidden in Chinatown, Munch Munch is where you can find all your childhood favourites here. Be transported back to the past as you munch on classic snacks like chilli tapioca chips, muruku and more. 

Nineties Candy Society

Shopping Bakeries Novena

Like its namesake, this 90s store has the biggest collection of classic biscuits and sweets. Check out this unconventional store that stocks up on your childhood favourites and eat your way through memory lane. 

More snacks this way

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