I'm Eating What?! Dried, Sweetened Anchovies | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?! Dried, Sweetened Anchovies

Maybe I was delirious the day I picked up that gold bag of product without a name that only pronounced its contents "Not Spicy Sweet." (Ironically, just above that was a "Spicy Snacks" label. What up, folks?) The ingredients: anchovies, sugar, palm oil, salt and MSG, so I couldn't imagine I would find its contents a delicious treat, but heck -- I love anchovies, and I love sugar, so how bad could this stuff be?

The answer is bad. Real bad. Bad to the point of my cat actually breaking into the bag and not even taking out a single anchovy. 

Not surprisingly, a whiff inside reminded me of the flakes I used to feed my goldfish, Irving, when I was a wee one. It's not a particularly pleasant smell, but it's also nowhere near the scent of a fish market on a hot day.

The somewhat curled dried bits of anchovy were missing heads and tails, thankfully. I gingerly took one out of the bag and crunched down, tasting the sugary outside and then the cardboard-like center. Uneventful. And not particularly fishy either. Might as well be dried shrimp, I thought. 

Wondering how many critters comprised a proper snack, I looked on the label to find that the silly folks behind this useless product consider the entire four-ounce bag to be one serving. Hardly! 

Even the brand's home page, zapsnacksusa.com, doesn't confess that it manufactures the stuff. It hides behind dried fruit snacks (though I also found dried squid and shrimp from the company other places on the 'net). Who can blame them? 

I dug around further online to see if these sweetened anchovies are typically used in some Thai recipes, like maybe as a topping for a salad or something, but... nope. No one uses 'em, no one mentions 'em, and frankly, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that no one likes 'em either. Who should eat these? People so desperate for protein that they're willing to sacrifice their taste buds. And suffer from halitosis of the third degree afterward.

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Riki Altman

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