For a venue that supposedly relies on a silent, respectful audience, the cinema has a surprisingly proud food history. For almost as long as there has been a big screen, greedy spectators have sat happily scoffing an array of incomprehensibly loud and disruptive foods. While snacks such as popcorn and pic ‘n’ mix are now an essential part of any movie theatre trip, every country has developed their own niche treats. Unsurprisingly, some are significantly weirder than others. Here are the oddest cinema foods from around the world.
When it comes to movie drinks, most of us are content with a cool cup of syrupy coca-cola. However, cinema goers in Lithuania have a very different approach to film refreshment. Kvas is a bread based drink that involves fermented cubes of rye bread and hot water. Croutons of black Slavic bread are soaked in wooden tubs and the resultant beer coloured liquid is served outside theatres up and down the country.
2. Iwashi Sembei
Generally speaking, film snacks are prized for their simplicity and ergonomic nature rather than their links to foodie tradition. However, the island nation of Japan have found a way to combine the need for tactile treats with the country’s historical love of seafood. Iwashi Sembei are packets of small baked fish, seasoned with soy and sugar and served bones and all to hungry patrons.
While it might not always attract immediate attention in the sweet aisle, liquorice is an absolute necessity for any self respecting cinema. Most nations delight in the confection’s sugary, floral taste. Not The Netherlands. “Drop”, as it’s known locally, is a salty, savoury liquorice that acts as a palate cleanser rather than a sugar rush. Despite its baffling taste, the snack remains incredibly popular.
4. Roasted Chestnuts Korea
Though many of us are more likely to think of Christmas than film when we see a chestnut, this hasn’t stopped the people of South Korea from taking the treats to screenings at every opportunity. Typically, the chestnuts are dried, roasted and placed in sealed bags for happy audiences across the country.
5. Beluga Caviar
In recent years, many cinemas have started offering premium packages for wealthy patrons looking to splash the cash. Though there are many ridiculous perks that come with these services, the most OTT has to be from Russia. Here, punters can enjoy premium vodka alongside beluga caviar and blinis as they watch the latest blockbuster.
6. Fish balls
Perhaps the only thing more unusual than serving whole fish cooked in sugar, is turning said fish into a ball. Yet this exactly what movie goers in Barbados expect from a trip to the pictures. Deep fried balls of flying fish are typically served alongside Banks beer, making Caribbean cinema visits as boozy as they are delicious.
For thirsty film purists, it’s difficult to beat a massive beaker of something sugary and carbonated. However, cinephiles in Spain may well have found something even better. Kalimotxo, a drink that is as delicious as it is difficult to pronounce, is a homemade cocktail made from 50% cola and 50% red wine. Though not sold by cinemas, you’ll be hard pressed to attend a screening in the Basque country that isn’t awash with this drink.
For any greedy film lover, food is always half the fun of a trip to the cinema. It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying the same old staples of popcorn and chips. However, as these nations prove, there’s a wealth of foodie possibility to discover in the theatre.