All over the world, people head to their local movie theaters for a welcome respite from reality. Before settling into their seats, of course, they swing by the concession stand to stock up on snacks for the adventures that await them. But not everyone's munching on popcorn and candy during screenings. Here are just a few of the go-to snacks moviegoers around the world reach for.
1. Iwashi Senbei
Theater patrons in Japan crunch on iwashi senbei, or dried sardines. The small fish are baked whole in soy sauce and sugar, and topped with sesame seeds, giving the sardines a sweet and savory umami flavor.
2. Roasted Ants
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Looking for a crunchy alternative to popcorn? At the movies in Colombia, people munch on roasted ants known as hormiga culona. The snack is eaten like a peanut and is considered an aphrodisiac—just in case you're looking to send a certain message to your date.
3. Dried Reindeer Meat
Traditional lamb or beef souvlaki, a street food staple, can be purchased at some of Greece's beloved outdoor cinemas.
5. Dried Cuttlefish
At South Korean concession stands, meaty, savory dried cuttlefish stands in for popcorn. (The chewy snack is incredibly popular in other Asian countries, too.) Another favorite at Korean theaters: roasted chestnuts.
6. Salty Licorice
Salty licorice is a popular confection at cinemas across the Netherlands. While licorice in the United States is sweet, the Dutch like the treat salted with ammonium chloride, which gives the candy a "tongue-numbing” sensation.
7. Dried Salted Plums
Many movie theaters in China serve dried salted plums, which are dehydrated, heavily pickled, and salted to give the fruit a tart taste. Sunflower seeds, dried shredded squid, kimchi, prunes, and coconut juice are also concession stand go-tos in Chinese cinemas.
8. Bajan Fish Cakes
Bajan fish cakes (also known as fish balls) are a common street food in Barbados. Made from freshly caught flying fish, Bajan fish cakes are served as a snack at many open-air movie theaters throughout the island. Looking for something to quench your thirst? Pick up a bottle of Banks Beer, a local brew, or a rum-based beverage.
9. Crispy Samosas
In India, moviegoers can tuck into samosas while watching the very best Bollywood has to offer. If you can't make it to South Asia, some Bollywood theaters in the United States also serve crispy samosas, along with standard American movie fare. Also popular at Indian theaters: Chutney and cheese sandwiches and vada pav, potato fritters in a bread bun.
All images courtesy of iStock unless noted otherwise.