People all over the world have a fondness for chewy snacks. However, Asians have a particular taste when it comes to food that have elements of chewiness, bounciness, and starchiness. These three key characteristics are what make chewy snacks K’iu or Q. Here at Polland Hopia, we take your snacking seriously. So, here’s a deep dive into the world of Q food.
It is believed that the term “Q” comes from the Taiwanese Hokkien word “k’iu” which means bouncy and bendy. According to an expert food scientist, not all chewy food is Q, but all Q food is chewy. For instance, a steak can be chewy, but it’s not Q like tikoy. Q food is all about texture. When bitten, a slice of steak breaks down easily and doesn’t return to its form. Unlike when you bite into a piece of tikoy, it has that chewy, stretchy sensation that allows it to bounce and slightly return to its original shape. One would notice that Q food may be resistant to bite at first. However, the initial resistance is quickly followed by a soft and succulent center.
In Asia, many of our snacks are chewy, elastic, and incredibly tasty. Most of the time, the chewier the snack, the tastier it is. A chewy snack’s mouthfeel affects the way we recognize its taste. In the Philippines, we enjoy chewy treats like sapin-sapin, kutsinta, and of course, tikoy. These chewy delights are part of our history and culture. Tikoy or nian gao is considered lucky as its chewiness, stickiness, and elasticity symbolizes strong familial connections and prosperity.