Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knock-off candy bars in Syria

I was thinking tonight about some of the knock-off candy bars we used to eat in Syria. They were myriad, and mostly awful. Some were even knock-offs of knock-offs.

There was Coco-Binti, which was like Bounty (that's Mounds to you USers, but Bounty is legions tastier). It cost 5 lira, which at the time was 10 US cents. (For comparison, a Bounty probably cost more like 35 lira.) What's more, it was manufactured by the government and was, I believe, on the list of price-controlled items like bread and milk. So you never had to worry about the price of your Coco-Binti skyrocketing. And it tasted OK. I mean, it would do in a pinch, when you really needed coconut and chocolate together, with overtones of wax.

(Now that I think about it, I think Coco-Binti was actually a knock-off of Hum Hum, which was the knock-off of Bounty. Hum Hum was probably 10 lira but I recall liking Coco-Binti better.)

Then there was Metro. I had assumed Metro was of the same ilk as Coco-Binti, but I found out later that Metro is from a legit Turkish brand called Ulker. Metro was kind of like Mars, but waxier (there is a definite wax theme with these knock-off bars). In some ways, I like it better than Mars - Mars is overwhelmingly saccharine, you know? (Do they even have Mars in the US? I can't remember now. Mars in the Middle East is like Milky Way in the US, and Milky Way is like Three Musketeers. There is no actual Three Musketeers here. So does that mean that Mars and Milky Way are the same in the US?) Metro took the sweetness down a notch but still filled the caramel/nougat/chocolate need. It cost around 10 lira, while a Mars, if they were even available, would have been more like 35 lira.

JEXY. Ah, Jexy. Jexy was fake Snickers, and man, you had to be desperate to actually eat one. When you eat a Snickers, it's usually as a meal replacement (right?), and so you can't skimp. You could actually taste the wax in a Jexy. Just now, I asked Jeremy if he remembered Jexy, and he said, "oh yeah, I loved those." I said, "no, you didn't. You're thinking of Metro." And he said, "oh yeah, I am thinking of Metro. I loved those. Jexy were gross."

We also used to eat Oreo-ish things called Dance. They were only really Oreo-like in that they were a chocolate biscuit sandwich with cream in the middle, but less chocolatey. They were consistently good and we ate them throughout our time in Syria. (When we were on vacation there in 2010, we ate Dance again and they really weren't half bad.) There were also more realistic fake Oreos called Romba, and another brand called Boreos (maybe Borios). Yes.

There was Ruby, which was kind of like Kit Kat, but not actual fake Kit Kat. Actual fake Kit Kat was called Katakit.

Anyway. There were so many more knock-off candy bars but I can't remember their names. Every once in a while, I see a Metro in the stores here and I remember the days of Coco-Bintis and Jexy and Dance.


Susanne said...

Six years ago today we left for Syria. I remember how gracious you were to answer my questions about traveling there.

I didn't eat any of their candy, but I enjoyed this post of your remembering.

breanne said...

I remember liking Katakit. And I love Ulker! I used to buy their chocolate/hazlenut spread (because it was way cheaper than Nutella) and put it on everything. It was way way too sweet. More like frosting. But--it was super cheap, which made it even more delicious.

Hannah said...

I don't have a strong memory of the candy bars there, but I do remember eating the XL's, which were like M&M's. I used to buy them on my way to class if I needed a pick me up.

Julee said...

To answer your question, Mars is chocolate, nougat, and almonds. I think. I may have had one in my lifetime. ;)

Shannon said...

Ruby bars are my fave. We were stoked to find them in Jordan too!


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