Taste Test

Yan Yan, Yum Yum, Knick Knacks, and More: We Dip Our Way into Five Chocolate Dip Biscuit Snacks

September 17, 2018

Eating becomes a little more fun when it requires some form of audience participation—think of the appeal of cooking your own meat in yakiniku for example—and such is the thrill of stick and dip snacks. Often packaged in cups consisting of plain stick biscuits and and a sweet (often chocolate-flavored) dip in separate compartments, these snacks not only make for a more engaging experience, but also shift the power to we, the consumers, by allowing you to regulate the amount of dip in each stick. (Or, heck, to skip the biscuits and go ham on just the dip with a spoon.) Which brand deserves a spot in the pantry?

Juju

Like the rest of the Juju snack lineup, these stick-dip snacks are sold such that they’re tied in (and thus available in printed packages of) Ben 10, Barbie, and Hello Kitty. Uh, yay choices?? | PHP 28/45g

Biscuit: Juju goes for a biscuit that’s long and thin in form but on the firm side, keeping it sturdy, albeit with a slight staleness and toughness that makes for tiring bites. Just mildly sweet, it flaunts a rich, “buttery” flavor (note that no actual butter is found in the ingredient list) with a maltiness that follows, and a touch of salt for balance. Though we also get an odd, mildly garlicky note toward the end, this does not pose a distraction to the overall flavor.

Dip: Considering this is the tallest container with a decent amount of biscuits, you only get about a tablespoon’s worth of dip—if you can even call it that, considering it’s about as solid as a chocolate block. Still, its relatively dark and cocoa-heavy (albeit vegetable oil-y) profile makes it a more grown-up tasting standout.

Knick Knacks Dip-a-Snack

The berry-tinged milk chocolate profile on Knick Knacks’ version brings competitor brand Yan Yan’s strawberry-flavored version to mind; its stellar texture makes it a great, cheaper alternative to the said brand as well. | PHP 12.50/20g

Biscuit: This local brand employs a biscuit that’s shorter and fatter. It has a much lighter, airier texture still somewhat crisp but easy to chew on. It’s also on the sweet side, aside from bearing a toasty, milky but bread-y taste that makes it enjoyable munched on its own.

Dip: You get a more milk chocolate-leaning profile on this dip and a welcome berry-like hint. Despite its mild graininess, it’s creamy without being oily (loosely similar to canned frosting), bearing a sense of whip-y lightness to it that keeps the umay at bay. Just on the mid-level of sweetness, it goes wonderfully with the biscuit and well matches its lightness.

Nyam Nyam

Note that we’d experienced a few consistency issues with Nyam Nyam, as the dip included on one of the cups we’d purchased (from the same store and on the same day) came solidified like Juju’s with a separate layer of oil floating on top. | PHP 14.50/25g

Biscuit: This Malaysian brand’s biscuit comes short and skinny—qualities that sadly don’t work very well with its light, delicate texture as it tends to break too easily. It’s also on the sugary end, bringing forward just a whisper of toastiness for contrast, for an end result that can be compared to that of local Jacobina biscuits.

Dip: With its creaminess, Nyam Nyam’s dip comes close to Knick Knacks’ but a tad more heft and richness. Flavor-wise, you get a loosely milky mix with a profile we associate with cheap compound chocolate, e.g. Mayfair, that finishes with a faint oily (even fishy-tasting) note. We’re not the biggest fans; it also tends to overpower the light, equally-sweet tasting sticks.

Yan Yan

Part of Yan Yan’s appeal are also the “animal quotes” printed on the biscuits: essentially the name of an animal plus some related phrase that isn’t gramatically incorrect but nonetheless can come across as somewhat quirky or bizarre, e.g., “Mouse: Do Not Be Timid”… conspiracy theorizing time??) | PHP 31.50/50g

Biscuit: This well-known brand from Japan—or the version they import here, anyway—employs tall, mid-width biscuits with that are on the firm side that you get a good crunch, but are light and crisp as you bite through. Its mid-level sweetness and subtle toastiness keeps it interesting enough to snack on plain yet still neutral enough to take on its accompanying dip.

Dip: Meiji’s chocolate dip is also of the canned frosting-esque sort: creamy and smooth as velvet, yet exceptionally light and ethereal that it just about melts the moment it hits the tongue—splendid in contrast to the sturdiness and crunch of the biscuit. Mid-level in sweetness, the dip delivers a dairy-dominated milk chocolate flavor profile (unsurprisingly similar in taste to the milk chocolate bars of the same brand), ending with a welcome, slightly savory cooked-milk note. We’re not too into the slick, oily feel it leaves on the tongue, but this is hardly discernible when consumed with the biscuit.

Yum Yum

We’d take Yum Yum for the sweet-and-savory, slightly-cheesy tasting sticks, but the dip could use some work. | PHP 10.50/30g

Biscuit: For this Filipino brand’s version, you get sticks that are short, thin, boxy, and distinctly more yellowish in color. Flaunting a peculiar taste that’s somewhat eggy and margarine-y, along with a hint of savory-leaning milky note we would somewhat compare to cheese powder, its just-right level of sweetness comes balanced with a good amount salt, which also allows it to stand out against the dip.

Dip: This dip comes right in the middle of being light and heavy, still bearing a creamy feel to it but being thicker that it clings onto the biscuit in a stickier (loosely Nutella-esque) manner. With its plasticky, more-oil-than-chocolate flavor profile, it’s our least favorite dip of the bunch; and though the slight savoriness of the biscuit helps take away from the off flavor of the oil, we definitely won’t be buying these again soon.

The Verdict: Yan Yan

Yan Yan’s popularity is well justified with its crisp and crunchy biscuit and smooth and milky chocolate cream; each component is a standout in its own right, yet come together to form a whole that’s on a far more delicious level than the sum of its parts. A close runner-up in our books is Knick Knacks, which successfully pulls off a lighter, more delicate, yet nonetheless balanced and enjoyable interpretation of the biscuit stick-chocolate dip combo.

Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

1 comments in this post SHOW

One response to “Yan Yan, Yum Yum, Knick Knacks, and More: We Dip Our Way into Five Chocolate Dip Biscuit Snacks”

  1. ish says:

    surprised you didn’t include Nutella’s version 😉

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