If there is one thing everyone loves about Chicago, it is the food. Point. Blank. Period. Growing up in Chicago is like every fatty kid’s fantasy; everywhere you turn you’re surrounded by oh-so delicious food. You have the bomb-ass grill joints, Italian/Jewish delis, classic pizza places, Chinese/Thai food, and the well stocked corner-stores filled with snacks that only real Chicagoans would go for. Of course we have fancy trendy spots as well as healthy/vegan restaurants, but it’s the fatty joints that make up the heart and soul of Chicago.
Now that we’re somewhat grown up (trying as slow as possible), we’ve changed our eating habits for the better, but sometimes our inner Chicagoan gets the best of us. If you ever catch a case of the munchies, these are the best Chicago snacks that will have your taste buds doing the tootsie-roll.*
*Only located in a hood near you. Sorry bougie people, you’re missing out.
The Super Donut
This infamous donut is familiar to any kid that attended a Chicago Public School. Served hot and fresh, it is almost always one of your breakfast choices and you would be a fool to choose any other item. Not sure how it’s a “good source of protein,” but we can tell you it’s a good source of heaven. Unless you’re blessed with a corner-store that sells Super Donuts, you may never have the pleasure of eating this pastry again because they are hard to find (make sure you warm them up if you do).
Hot Crunchy Kurls
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ain’t got shit on Vitner’s Hot Crunchy Kurls. Yes the concept is similar, but Hot Crunchy Kurls are actually spicy, like really spicy, but so good that you’ll sacrifice burning your tongue. It also has a lot more seasoning and cheese flavor than Flamin’ Hots, so if you’re into having a flavor party in your mouth then this is the snack for you. You’ll only be able to get this little gem in Chicago because Vitner’s is based out of here and only distributes here.
Crunchy Nuggets are basically the convenient version of Hot Crunchy Kurls minus the cheesy taste. These too are so spicy and so addictive. They haven’t been as easily available as they use to be, but they’re around. They come in other flavors as well, such as jalapeño cheese, and ranch.
25 cent Juice
We’re not entirely sure if these guys are sold in other cities, but we must say these juices were clutch during our high-school days. At only 25 cents a pop, this was the go to drink on a broke day. There really isn’t anything special about these juices because in the end, it’s all sugar water no matter what color you get. It’s more about the nostalgia.
Frooties, oh Frooties. How we adore thee. This fruit flavored candy chew is the hot sibling of the Tootsie Roll. It is usually sold in high school either for fundraising or by the school snack hustler. Other than that, your best bet is to find these at a corner store out South, out West, or someone selling them off the Dan Ryan express way exits (if you’re lucky). They’re generally sold 2 for $1 so don’t let anyone try to play you. Any Chicagoan can tell you that if you find this candy anywhere else, you don’t hesitate to buy.
Once again, this brand is so much better than the Cheetos brand. No shade though. It’s just this kind is filled with so much flavor and is a lot spicier. If you’re not into spicy food then it’s understandable if you can’t handle this, but as Ethiopian and Mexirican girls, this is straight CRACK to us. More power to Vitner’s.
Flamin’ Hots With Cheese
This is the best way to turn Flamin’ Hots into a low budget meal, seriously. All you have to do is add nacho cheese provided by your local convenience store, and there you have it. If you really want to get fancy, some places will even have ground beef and jalapeños you can add on. If you think this sounds gross, then you’re not livin’.
We had to save the best for last. Hands down this is THEE best Chicago snack. Elote is a Mexican treat made up of corn, butter, mayo, chili powder, and cheese. It sounds fattening but who cares, IT’S AMAZING. Yes, it’s also popular in the south like Texas, but we like to own it like it’s a part of Chicago. We don’t see anyone else going crazy over it like we do. Then again, it’s probably because this snack of God is only available during the summer, when your local elote man/woman sets up shop on the block, and Chicago summers take forever to come.
The elote man/woman also sells a number of other goodies, but the best thing to pair with your elote on a hot summer day is a snow cone (known as raspado or piragua, depending on if your elote man/woman is Mexican or Puerto Rican). Best summer combo.
Diet or not, we’re all fatties at heart. Own it.