One of the great things about university is the mix of things, not just of people from different places and background, but also the stuff available to accommodate such a mix.
University time is also a time of adventure where people try out new stuff. Therefore I believe it is sensible to try out the weird and wonderful mix of food available from shops around University of Southampton, particularly the one in the SUSU shop, as it is possibly the closest and easiest for most students.
I shall kick off this delicious journey with an article on snacks from oriental shops. But why oriental snacks, you asked. First, snacking is an important part of being a student, I believe. Secondly, oriental snacks provide a different perspective to snacking, as they are often slightly different to their western counterpart.
However, from my observations, I suspect students without an oriental background would hesitate to undertake such an ambitious move of trying. One of the reasons is the original packaging with huge, undecipherable characters written on them. Although by law they must have the local language written on them, it is usually in a form of a densely printed label, with font size too small for flies.
But I believe there are delights to be found in trying them out, because they certainly have something special. If not, why would someone bother transporting them half way across the globe? Some of my Hong Kong friends bring back a suitcase of snacks after a summer holiday. For them, it is the taste of childhood. So what can they offer to westerners?
First, they are obviously different. One of the most iconic oriental snacks is of course seaweed. It is so notoriously famous that buffets have burnt crispy cabbage and named it after them. It is hard to find a Western equivalent because it is a product under considerable cultural influence. Most westerners may have considered seaweed inedible.
Second, they are authentic. I can testify that I found most of the snacks available here identical to the one I found at my hometown in the Hong Kong area. I would even say the collection here cover most of the variety there.
Third, they are delicious. Fact.