If there is one thing that kids around the world have in common, it’s that rumbling stomach elicited by the sound of the school bell ringing loudly in the afternoon. After a long day of classes, it’s either time to jump on the school bus and burst through the kitchen door to see what nutritious snack mom has thrown together or time to meet up with friends to spend that well-earned weekly allowance on some tasty treats. But while all after-school snacks should fuel children with the energy needed to show that homework who's boss or to nail that soccer practice, they come in many different forms around the world.
In the U.S., popular after-school snacks include grilled cheese, popcorn, and cereal bars. Although most kids might prefer easily accessible vending machines goods such as rice crisps and chips covered in orange cheese powder, health-conscious parents often push for apples dipped in peanut butter or a vitamin-packed fruit shake. Then there are always the pre-packaged, microwaveable options to make at home, like pizza bagels, Hot Pockets, or Campbell’s tomato soup. And for those looking for a more social after-school experience, there are usually plenty of fast-food chains to choose from as well.
But what do children around the world eat after that school bell rings? Do they stay at their school cafeteria or go to a nearby pizza shop? Do they wait for mom-made snacks or indulge in street food before heading home? To find out, we decided to compile a list of some of the tastiest after-school snacks in 10 different parts of the world, from Hong Kong to Hungary. In Venezuela, kids enjoy gooey breadsticks, tequeñmade, which are salty queso blanco cheese sticks wrapped in a thin dough and fried until golden brown. If you ask children in Korea, fishy taste equals delicious, and the shrimp flavored crackers Saewookkang are common afternoon snacks here. In Belgium, children tend to lean towards the sweeter side of things, and like to spread the gingerbread flavored paste Speculoos — made from crumpled up speculoos cookies — on practically anything from an apple wedge to a slice of toast. So why not put the peanut butter and jelly aside and surprise that special little guy or girl in your life with one of these next time they come home from school? Click trough our slideshow to see all the 10 after-school snacks enjoyed around the world.
Lili Kocsis is a self-proclaimed gastronome. She graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a BA in linguistics. She dedicates her spare time to purposeful travel, food photography, and writing about regional cuisine under the penname MyAmusedBouche.