Online Sensation Emmy Gives Bamba and Halva Their 15 Minutes of Fame

The American blogger may not know exactly what these treats are made out of, but she’s willing to taste them for you.

You may know that sensation of traveling to a foreign land and eyeing some foodstuff askance, wondering just what the devil it is. And if it’s palatable to your palate. Now, maybe, you can worry a little less thanks to Emmy, who courageously steps up to the plate for you.

“Israeli friends, please help me. Some of these labels are not written in English or Romanized, so I’m going to need some help, some translation. So if you guys could tell me what these things I’m going to eat are, I’d appreciate it.” Sure thing.

Emmy, a young American woman of Japanese descent, eats food from all over the world — and tells the world about it in real time. She films herself eating the various foods people send her from all over the world, shares the experience, and uploads the videos to YouTube (her YouTube username is emmymadeinjapan). She asks viewers to send her foods to try — and last week, a viewer named Todd sent her a package of Israeli snacks.

She started with a package of Bamba, a popular peanut-butter-flavored children’s snack. “Immediately when you open it, it smells like peanut butter,” she says as she opens the package, featuring a cartoon baby playing basketball. “It looks like a Cheez Doodle or cheese puff, but it’s not orange in color — it’s more of a caramel color.”

Evidently she liked it: “Mmmmm!” she says with pleasure as she eats the second half. “That’s good!” She recommends the snack for lovers of peanut butter, saying: “It just tastes exactly like eating Skippy peanut butter right out of the jar.”

Other Israeli foods (including some that aren’t actually made here, but are presented as Israeli) that Emmy eats on camera include halva (“Very, very dense and rich, crumbly, slightly sweet, a bit like the interior of a Butterfinger”) and Bissli, of which she says: “Bissili? Bissali? Bissli barbecue. They almost look like — what’s that pasta name — fusilli? They’re like corkscrews. Mmmm! Those are so good. Did you hear that crunch?”

She shows viewers a package of mocha-flavored Krembos, a chocolate-covered marshmallowy snack with a cookie at the bottom. “I can’t read it, so friends, do tell me what this is,” she says as she opens it. “They almost look like little cupcakes... like little mushrooms.... My gosh! Totally different. Wow! It’s like airy sweetness. I don’t even know what I just ate.”

Todd sent her honey cookies as well. She takes one out and taps the sugar glaze with her fingernail, then takes a bite. “Mmmm! Wow! It’s totally not hard at all. They’re soft! Mmmmf, quite sweet on the outside, but on the inside you have this really nice cookie in the middle with a flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on. I imagine it’s honey, and it reminds me a bit of graham crackers.”

About the Pesek Zman (“Time Out”) chocolate bar, Emmy says, “Very reminiscent of a Kit Kat Chunky.” Other foods in the package that she tries for her viewers include halva-flavored Bamba, a can of salted eggplant (quite a few Israeli commenters tried to figure out what Todd was thinking with that one), Klik chocolate-covered snacks and chocolate spread.

Todd also sent her lemon-flavored wafers, which Israelis refer to as “waffles” - “vaffelim” - and which have nothing whatsoever with the food that North Americans refer to as waffles. “Oh, yeah,” Emmy says as she opens one. “It smells really strongly of lemon...Very lemony. Quite sweet. Reminds me of lemon-flavored yogurt. Very strong lemony flavor. Quite good.”

Not impressed? Think about this. In a parallel universe, a Japanese journalist could be writing about an Israeli YouTube star eating octopus snacks while sharing her impressions with her viewers.

Nir Keidar