Monday, March 5, 2007

Introducing Cha Cha brand sunflower seeds

Posted By on 03.05.07 at 08:06 AM

click to enlarge 1090.jpg
click to enlarge 1089.jpg

A few months ago I came across these attractively packaged sunflower seeds at H Mart. Apparently ripe for another oral fixation, I was snagged by the promise of "coconut flavor" and "selected large and plump full sunflower seeds from the natural Inner Mongolian environmental-friendly farm." It wasn't hype. These shells are fat, and snap open cleanly with a minimum of dental pressure. The seasoning is very subtle and reminiscent of milk and cereal. Their enormity and freshness were really apparent compared to a slightly rancid bag from an American producer I found on Devon. The seriousness of my addiction is such that I can't stop popping them long enough to drink my morning coffee.

Ingredients are listed as "sunflower seeds, salt, spice, and acesulfame potassium" (an artificial sweetner) There's also a five -spice flavor (equally understated and delicious), and plain roasted and salted, which don't taste either. I'm using those for birdseed.

There was little to learn about the manufacturer, Anhui Qiaqia Food Co., Ltd, based in Hefei, China, other than it "has grown up to be one of the leading snack food producers in China" since 2001, but they've clearly taken great care in packaging these babies in vacuum sealed brown paper bags with aluminum lining. They even include a "Chinese Performing Arts" trading card in each bag, Cracker Jack-style.

At the Vietnamese Broadway Supermarket at 4879 N. Broadway I found them again alongside a knockoff brand (or maybe it's the other way around) from Sichuan with packaging entirely in Chinese. These contained salt, licorice, and fennel in addition to the sweetener. Also very good, but generally slightly smaller.

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