Actor Simu Liu’s having a pretty darn good run lately with the success of his breakthrough Marvel hit, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings. He’s been bringing Asian representation to the big screen, and as an Asian-American, I have to say it’s been really refreshing to see. I grew up watching people who look like me playing dudes with ridiculous accents, feeding unfortunate stereotypes, so watching his career take off has been heartening, to say the least.
Liu recently sat down with GQ for the magazine’s “10 Things” celebrity interview feature, talking about some of the items he can’t live his life without. Though the video isn’t entirely about food, a large portion of it is dedicated to his favorite Asian snacks—and Asian snacks happen to be one of the internet’s very favorite topics. I know and love some of the snacks that Liu highlights, but there’s also a bunch I haven’t tried yet. The world of Asian snacks is infinite and amazing, and everything mentioned in the video is something you can get here in the United States.
“So many Asian kids, like myself, when we brought these snacks to school, we used to get made fun of because the kids wouldn’t know what they were,” Liu says in the video. “So now we’re here to demystify them.”
He starts off with Pocky, which are one of the easiest snacks on his list to get at major grocery chains. For those who have never had the pleasure of tasting them, Pocky are thin cracker rods dipped in a sweet coating like chocolate, though these days there are a whole lot of flavors, including matcha. Liu also recommends dried shredded squid, Japanese rice crackers, and White Rabbit candy, which is chewy, milk-flavored, and absolutely delicious. Liu makes the point that when we say “representation matters,” we’re not just talking about actors on the big screen—showing what everyone eats can be a form of representation, too.
Best of all, a long-time favorite of mine shows up in the video, and it’s Liu’s favorite, too: shrimp chips. The name is a little bit of a misnomer; they’re not shaped like potato chips or crackers, they’re more like uniformly shaped squiggles. I’ve introduced them to many hesitant people over the years, assuring them that they don’t taste super strongly of shellfish, just enough that you notice the flavor after a little while. Mostly, shrimp chips are just savory, and you’ll find yourself crushing a whole bag in no time.
Consider this video your reminder to head to your nearest Asian grocery store, make a beeline for the snack aisle, and fill up a basket with everything you can carry. It’s my professional opinion as a food writer that you ought to do this. So drop everything and go get some Asian snacks now.