I went on the lookout for Salvadoran snacks and ended up at La Tiendita, a great little Latin grocery shop here in Ottawa – they’ve got products from all over Latin America, and are connected to a Salvadoran restaurant next door. Most of the snacks from El Salvador are Diana brand, which seems to be the main snack company that exports, plus a pop that makes it very clear where it’s from!

Diana Nachos Tortilla Chips – In the same vein as Doritos, but a bit thicker and more natural-looking. They’re more earthy, with a much more realistic cheese flavour – kind of a Parmesan tang (ingredients list confirms that it’s both cheddar and Parmesan). The cheese fades quickly to a strong corn flavour from the chip itself, you can tell these were made with actual corn flour and baked. They taste almost homemade.

Diana BBQ Cornbits – Toasty corn nuts (elotitos) with a mild BBQ taste. They’re not overly salty, and they have quite a firm crunch. The BBQ flavour is very subtle initially, but it builds into something a bit richer and smoky the more you eat.

La Cascada Kolashanpan – Bright orange pop that tastes strongly of artificial bubblegum flavour, like a pop version of bubblegum ice cream. (I would say also like cream soda but I’m aware Canadian cream soda tastes more like bubblegum than the vanilla type you get in other countries.) Very sweet and artificial by my tastes.

Diana Pachanga Mix – A snack mix of nachos, cheesies, corn and yucca chips. I always pick the cheesies out of these mixes to eat first, and these ones are pretty tasty. The corn chips have a bit of a BBQ flavour, and both the chips and the nachos have that strong real corn taste – I assume the yucca chips are the ones without that taste. I’d like a bag of just the round rings on their own – like extra cheesy puffy cheesies.

Diana Spicy Cheese Cornbits – Just as hard as the BBQ corn nuts (enough that I’m a bit concerned for a crown in my mouth!), again with the subtle flavour that builds in the aftertaste. They’re not initially spicy, but the heat does build a bit after a few – though never to a really “spicy” level. I really like the flavour – these would make a great garnish on a salad or noodles.

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