Long before the influx of imported junk foods such as Lays, Doritos, Cheetos, etc, the kids of my generation have been filling up our bellies with an assortment of food-grade munchies collectively known as chichiriya (even the name itself sounds dated!). These chichiriyas are totally devoid of any form of nutritional value but they serve up fun and comfort over and above any measurable RDA – and that’s why we miss them terribly!

1. White Rabbit. Before the white, milky, chewy taffy with edible wax paper wrapping version came along, we had the hard candy version with the non-edible wrapping which we ate anyway because the ‘upgrade’ version was rare and slightly more expensive at that time. Plus, we didn’t really want to spend all of our two pesos on just one chichiriya. 

White Rabbit


2. Peter’s Butter Ball. This hard candy just fills your mouth with butterscotch-y goodness that won’t quit! I remember always seeing a garapon (jar) filled with butter ball candies in our home in the probinsya (province) because my parents were also somewhat addicted to them.

Peter's Butter Ball


3. Sunshine Green Peas. Fried (or baked?) green peas with a crunchy golden brown coating almost similar to Nagaraya peanuts, only better because hey, it’s sunshine! I may or may not have attempted to empty an entire packet in my mouth once, nearly choking myself in the process, because I was a foolish, greedy little girl.

Sunshine Green Peas


4. Lumpia Shanghai. These small barrel-shaped, flour-based chichiriyas coated with some cheese flavouring is most school children’s guilty pleasure. Goes well with Coke, too. See what we did just there? How’s that for salt and sugar explosion?

Lumpia shanghai


5. Rin-bee Cheese Sticks, Pee-wee and Ri-chee. Rin-bee is the cheese-flavoured savoury sticks that basically leaves suspicious-looking orange stains on your fingers even after you’ve licked all the cheese off. Pee-wee, on the other hand, used to come only in sizzling barbecue flavour but had since added other flavour variants like pizza and heaven knows what else. And finally one of my all-time favourites, Ri-chee, the crunchy milk-flavoured snacks. I could eat these three all day but I won’t because, well, my body can only take so much junk.

Rin-bee, Pee-wee and Ri-chee


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6. Bazooka Bubble Gum. Bright pink chewing gum with ridges on top, making it look like a miniature laundry detergent bar. We used to buy a lot of this not so much for the gooey high but because of Bazooka Joe comic strip that goes with it. We either collect or trade these comic strips with friends.



7. Iced Gem Biscuits. Little round biscuits with colourful teardrop-sized icing on top. My favourite way of eating it? Go for the biscuit part first and suck on the icing part until it melts in my mouth., because we like to save the best for last, don’t we?

Iced Gems


8. Haw Flakes. A true Asian knick-knack, these round reddish brown wafers rolled up in bright pink wrappers are popular not just the Philippines but in China and some other Asian countries. The flavour is similar to a fruit roll-up, but less chewy and totally addictive! Haw flakes are the staple props when kids play pari-parian (priest) or komu-komunyon (holy communion).



9. Orange Swits. Orange jelly candies sprinkled with white sugar. Chewy, orangey, and really swit – what’s not to love?

Orange Swits


10. Curly Tops and Flat Tops. Both made by Ricoa, it’s rather tough to tell the difference between the two when it comes to taste and creaminess. Of course, the packaging says otherwise. That, plus the fact that Curly Tops have these ridges on the side, whereas Flat Tops is just smooth all over. In any case, we just love them both!

Curly tops and Flat tops


Do you have other chichiriyas to add to the list?

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