Childhood Nostalgia

Do you ever take a foodie trip down memory lane thinking about those childhood food you loved so much at one time, now seldom or no longer have them anymore. I have quite a few, some I still secretly enjoy now and again, some sound weird and some make me shudder thinking about them. Many of these are probably more familiar with people from the Far East.

Milo malted chocolate was and is still a favourite hot chocolate drink in the Far East. Every kid drinks Milo we always have a huge tin at home. Ever since moving to England, I never have Milo again. My favourite with Milo was not as a drink but in sandwiches. Sounds weird huh. What we kids like was spread a layer of condensed milk on soft bread then sprinkle on thick layer of crunchy Milo granules. This was my favourite sandwiches. Chocolate, sugar and milk what can be better than that for kids?

Second favourite sandwiches was peanut butter. Not peanut butter and jelly. For us kids in the family was peanut butter sprinkled with a layer of sugar. The sugar was a sugary kick for us kids and the crunchy texture of sugar was a bonus. I still have this sometime if I don’t feel guilty about the extra sugar.

Bovril was another hot favourite when I was a kid. We loved it with plain rice soup (congee, juk or moi). Another favourite was get some steamy hot rice, crack in an egg stir quickly and cover the bowl with a plate to let the steam cook the egg. Then stir in a spoonful of Bovril and few drops of sesame oil. I still have the rice now and again. Still love it.

Dessert favourite was probably jelly (jello) with tin fruits and evaporated milk. Make several bowls of jelly (jello) with different flavours. Let them set in fridge. Scoop some onto a bowl, top with tin fruits and drizzle with evaporated milk.

Another similar dessert was stir in some icecream into the melted jelly mix while it still hot. The icecream will melt and set the jelly very quickly. Instant creamy pudding anytime.

My favourite ice creams were probably Wall’s rum and raisins and Artic Roll. Still find Artic Roll in the supermarkets over here but haven’t had any for years. For local S E Asian icecream I loved coconut and yam (taro) ice cream , originated from the Philippines, purple (probably added artificial colour) icecream and quite yummy.

Ever tried sucking a dried pickled plum (som boi) with calamansi lime (limau kasturi) ? Cut a top off a small lime, insert a dried pickled plum in the centre and start sucking the combined flavour. It’s sour, salty, sweet all bind together with the unique flavour of dried plum. Can’t remember when I stopped eating this. I haven’t had one of this for many many years.

During my childhood time in the Far East we didn’t have any fresh milk, no dairy farm in the country. What we had were all processed milk products like full cream milk powder, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream in a tin and even fresh milk in tin can, all UHT. Hot drinks like tea and coffee were loaded with condensed milk or evaporated milk and still are in the Far East. Yuck! Paper cartoon UHT milk appeared on the supermarket shelves when I was around 10 – 12, then we have cold fresh milk imported from Australia few years later.

The followings are some snacks and sweets (candies) I loved so much.

Planters cheez balls imported from the States. We had them quite often. The bright colour in them makes your fingers and tongue orangey.

Twisties chicken or cheese flavour , so full of chemical flavourings. I won’t touch them with a barge pole if I see them again.

Prawn cracker sticks (not sure if it was Calbee brand), used to have this all the time. I bought some about a year ago from a Chinese supermarket over here. Did not taste the same like those I had before.

Rabbit milk candy
one of my favourites. I used to lick off the rice paper first before sucking on the sweet. Have seen them over here in oriental markets but not had any for years.

Haw flakes 山楂餅 used to love this a lot. They are sweet and sour quite yummy. Great sprinkle on vanilla ice cream.

Horlicks tablets, plain and chocolate flavour. Small roll wrapped in paper. Great sweet (candy). Have not seen any for donkey years. Love to get some again if Horlicks is still making them.

Rowntree’s fruit gums – blackcurrant flavour only in a roll. Think I bought some over here many years ago.

Do you have any nostalgic childhood food to share?


  1. :D What a great list - I totally remember the Planters cheez balls, prawn cracker sticks (which I still eat), the haw flakes (my kindergarten gave them out as prizes if we did something right) and the Horlicks tablets! Apart from that, I remember lots of chai tow kway - love it. Still love it. Oh yes, and the UHT milk we had to drink in primary school - I hated it! :D Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    Regarding the Horlicks tablets, I remember getting some the last time I went to Singapore (or maybe they were Ovaltine tablets) and as I'm going again in a couple months time, I could try to find them again for you.

  2. Remember Ovaltine when visiting my grandparents in HK. Rowntree's fruit something or other - any flavor BUT the black current ones. LOL! And HK's version of Starburst. And crackers that were kind of like saltines but sturdier and much better tasting. And coconut candy.

  3. Thank Su-Lin for the offer. Let me know if you do find them.

    Shireley, these other Starburst was it Fruitella?

    Oh I remembered those brownish coconut candy wrapped in paper from Malaysia, very moreish.

    I can still think of a few others.
    Everytime we have someone coming back from Singapore, it's always bbq jerky (bak gua). Anyone from Penang there were always some sweet pickled nutmeg pulp and chick cookies (gai jai beng 雞仔餅)

  4. Thanks for a really interesting and original blogpost, Sunflower. Can´t really recall many food memories from my childhood but then again I used to be such a fusspot!!Remember really liking Gold bars but then going off them as ended up finding them sickly!

  5. Thanks for stopping by Tracey.

  6. What a wonderful post. Growing up in Australia Milo was a big hit, but my parents would never buy it for me! I also loved Haw flakes, couldn't get enough of them and I still remember my first time trying them. And of course Twisties too, but I am the same, couldn't touch them now, but my kids love them. Children must just love all that processed goodness!!! Alana

  7. I can remember quite a number of the items in your list, Milo, Horlicks tablets, hawflakes, twisties (thank goodness my sons do not like this)and yes my sister who is living in Penang still brings us nutmeg and tausah biscuits whenever she visits. The Rabbit sweets caused such a stir at one time during the melanine contamination that suddenly everyone is not buying them!

  8. You brought tears to my eyes and a longing in my heart for things of the past....thanks.

  9. Great list. I LOVED milo - especially made with cold milk and not stirred too much so you get big chocolatey powdery lumps. Ah, the memories.

  10. my mom n i love haw flakes! when she was a kid she kept on eating hawflakes... and when she went for a pee, she was shocked cuz her urine was kinda red. haha.. she ate too much haw flakes!!

  11. I have seen haw flakes in supermarket shelves. I think Horlicks still sell those tablets as I used to buy them for my children when they were small.

    I wonder if anybody remembers the pickled garlic I used to eat a lot of. Another one is what we used to call assam. It looked like tamarind paste but had lots of small green beans sized orange colored seeds that we spat out. Never see them nowadays.


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