The last time we tried Oreos from Asia, including these Mildly Sweet ones I picked up in Singapore, we were...less than impressed. The less-bitter cookie and less-sweet creme just wound up tasting bland, a pale shadow of the Oreo's true self.
In the spirit of further inquiry, hope for the spirit of Asian snack food, and because we kind of have a thing for cookie-fueled masochism at Serious Eats, we scored five more Asian Oreos to try. Happen to live in China or Indonesia? Here's our take on some of the Oreos you can find there.
Orange Ice Cream
Ice cream-flavored Oreos have the potential to suck harder than a Dyson. So this one is surprisingly good, even better than the Serious Eats-approved creamsicle Oreo available in the U.S. The difference? The creme filling here lacks that distracting vanilla-cream soda vibe, instead piling on the citrus oil flavors that taste—almost—like freshly zested orange peel. And unlike the creamsicle Oreo, the cookies here are a welcome chocolate, and they bring out all the fruity bitterness of the filling. Bravo, Oreo, this is genius.
Chocolate-Covered Coffee Wafers
Is a chocolate-covered wafer and creme bar really an Oreo? Frankly this has more in common with a Kit Kat than milk's favorite cookie, but I'm surprised at how much I enjoy it. The coffee flavor—and aroma—is like what you'd find in a cheap candy: a little suntan lotion-y, but believable enough if mass-market coffee-flavored sweets are your jam. The chocolate is thinner than on a Kit Kat, allowing you to pay more attention to the cringly crunch of the wafers. The creme inside is toned down, it seems, to match the milder cocoa in this cookie.
In an odd move for Oreo, these little guys are surprisingly portion-controlled. The individually-wrapped cookies come six to a box instead of the 45-or-so sandwich cookies that make up a three-sleeve, one-afternoon's-worth package.
The Not So Good
Similar in style and packaging to the coffee wafers, but nowhere near as tasty. The coconut is all Malibu, the kind of flavor that turns people off coconut forever. The creme is insubstantial and gritty and the wafers suck all the saliva from your mouth. Ardent coconut fans may find something to like here (though I, as a lover of Almond Joy, do not), but the rest can pass.
Peaches originated in China, and you can find them all over historic tapestries and ceramics, a testament to their role in the country's culinary culture. Now grapes, and the paring of grapes with peaches, I'm less sure about. Beyond the general question of why does this exist, how do they actually taste? Like the only-at-Target candy corn Oreo, you smell these the second you open the package. The intermingling aromas of Robitussin and Nyquil fill the room, and by the time I brought one of these to my lips, inner me was asking just what I did to deserve such punishment. After much prodding, I finally convinced Robyn to try one ("friends don't let friends do terrible things to their taste buds alone!"). This is the face she made:
The creme has the texture of chewable Tylenol, a kind of mealy stiffness that belongs nowhere near an Oreo, and that the chocolate cookie flavor is completely obliterated by the peach-grape poltergeist. Do not want.
Availability: Select countries internationally; Strawberry Milkshake Oreo introduced to U.S. in 2007
Speaking of medicine-flavored things, this stuff is pure Pepto. Like that awful berry ice cream Oreo I mentioned above, this is the kind of fake, nasty stuff of our industrial flavor nightmares. There's the same abrupt chemical perfume here as in the peach-grape, the same chalky-not-creamy filling, and again, the chocolate cookie doesn't stand a fighting chance against it all.
Tell me, Asian Oreo fans—are we missing something here? Is there a cultural divide we're unable to cross? We're having a hard time seeing what people might love in these two cookies.
What Should We Try Next?
This is far from the end of our international Oreo scavenger hunt. Got any flavors we should try next? I'm curious about the green tea Oreo; is it too much to hope for a red bean as well?