Gem biscuits not the only nostalgic treat: 15 other old-school snacks Singaporeans grew up with

A variety of childhood snacks which were more pouplar in the 90s. Iced gem biscuits are just one of the snacks that many Singaporeans grew up with in the 1980s. -- BERITA HARIAN PHOTO
A variety of childhood snacks which were more pouplar in the 90s. Iced gem biscuits are just one of the snacks that many Singaporeans grew up with in the 1980s. -- BERITA HARIAN PHOTO

SINGAPORE - Iced gem biscuits are just one of the snacks that many Singaporeans grew up with in the 1980s. Many other treats waited for us in the provision shops and school tuckshops. Do you remember these?

1. Hiro chocolate cake

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Chocolatey and with moist cake inside, it was the ultimate taste of heaven for most of us growing up. Having tasted the various kinds of fancy, expensive chocolate cakes, sometimes it is nice to fall back on old favourites.

2. Warheads

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Just seeing this sweet might make your lips pucker, as you recall its extreme sour taste. These sweets were all the rage with primary school kids, and being able to have one without your facial muscles spasming was an achievement. Then, you had to go around showing everyone your stained tongue.

3. Butterfly crackers (also known as pig's ears)

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These crackers are shaped like ears, and in retrospect, were probably a tool for children to train their jaws. They were not the softest of biscuits, but boy, were they addictive.

4. White Rabbit Candy

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These chewy milk sweets wrapped with edible rice paper are the quintessential comfort snack. The first sweets were made in 1943 in Shanghai. Chinese leader Zhou Enlai even presented US President Richard Nixon with a pack when he visited Beijing in 1972.

5. Apollo chocolate wafer

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Before all the fancy Western chocolate biscuits came to Singapore, there was the "red packet wafer" from Malaysia that ruled all the chocolate treats.

6. Spectacle chocolate

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This was the cheap version of M&Ms and to us then, it tasted every bit as good. What's more, you could use them as spectacles. This was great because almost every single child must have thought it was cool to wear spectacles. And found out later in life that it was not.

7. Pocket-sized nutella

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This was perhaps many Singaporeans' introduction to the irresistible Nutella. It conveniently comes with a white stick, and it was not enough to wipe it clean with the stick. It had to be licked clean. With the reported shortage in hazelnuts, this should be the only acceptable size. We have to save Nutella.

8. Haw flakes

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These were given out as treats in primary school. Made of hawthorn, they were also addictive, and a good way of training children to share.

9. Ling Mong Tablets

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These were plum-flavoured and shaped like tablets. Wrapped in gold paper, they came in little tubes.

10. Kacang Puteh

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An endless assortment of nuts in a twisted paper cone usually made from old magazines or newspapers- eco-friendly and tasty! You can still get them outside some Cathay movie theatres.

11. Bee-bee

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Your fingers would get all smeared with the sweet, salty and spicy seasoning trying to get the last tiny sticks of these out of the pack, but it was worth it.

12. Chupa Chups

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These old favourites, created in 1958, are still doing well. Creator Enric Bernat got the idea of creating a sweet on a stick when he saw how children got their hands dirty when they took sweets out of their mouths to examine them, talk to their friends, or keep them for later.

13. Kaka

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The chicken-flavoured corn snacks are produced by Malaysian snack company Kinos, which is also the creator of Tora and Ding Dang chocolate toy boxes.

14. Tora and Ding dang

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These two, made by Malaysian manufacturing company Kinos, were popular. This was the only way to get a toy before we started eating Happy Meals.

15. Danhua cake

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Made of ground peanuts and covered with crispy egg pastry, these made-in-China snacks now also come in seaweed and sesame seed flavours.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg

chuimin@sph.com.sg