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We Asked Restaurant Chefs for Their Favorite Chewy Snacks

April 11, 2022

And their answers (from Korean taffy to Hawaiian treats) will have you restocking your snack drawer stat.

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Photo: Courtesy of Hi-Chew

The Best Bites Have Chew

Despite having plenty of deliciousness around them to taste, chefs are just like us when it comes to giving in to the sweet indulgence of chewy treats. And chewy foods (from snackable mochi to meals filled with rice cakes) are having a big moment, thanks to spreading cultural influence in grocery stores — and your social media feeds. We asked some of the country’s top chefs to spill their go-to chews when only something lip-smacking will do.

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For Esther Choi of New York City’s Mokbar, childhood memories of enjoying traditional homemade yeot when she lived in Korea are still fresh in her mind. "I would see it made on the side of the street," she says. "It was my obsession." She admits the traditional homemade Korean taffy candy made with rice, grains, sorghum or pumpkin can be hard to find, so she relies on the readymade kind by Seoul Mills. Made with Korea-grown pumpkins, and sans any sugar or preservatives, the bagged variety serves as a worthy alternative to the real thing.

buy it

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Beny Locochas Chamoy

Hugo Ortega, executive chef and proprietor of H-Town Restaurant Group and namesake of Hugo’s in Houston, says there are plenty of Mexican candies he loves, but Beny Locochas Chamoy specifically stands out as a favorite. The round, individually-packed red pieces start off sweet and reveal a palate-tingling surprise in the middle. "They are hard on the outside with a chewy, chamoy caramel center that offers sweet, salty and spicy flavor," he shares, reminiscing. "These candies take me back to my childhood days in Mexico City and Puebla."

$9.25 at amazon

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Sour Punch Strawberry Straws

For chef Ryan Hacker of Brennan’s in New Orleans, there is something special about the combination of sweet and sour that keeps him wanting more, and when it comes to sugary chews, his pick is a nostalgic one. "Growing up, my favorite chewy candy was Sour Punch strawberry straws," he says. The long, flimsy candy, sour to taste and generously sprinkled with sugar, even functions as a real straw, adding an extra layer of fun for children and adults alike. "It was a ritual treat after every baseball game! This candy is a sweet reminder of those simple childhood pleasures."

$1.89 at sour punch

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