Oh, ass cookies, where have you been?
A gulf of time has passed since I first reviewed them on this blog. Since then, it has become one of the most popular posts.
I recently savored my fortune when a wave from the permanently shelf-stable wand of the junk food fairy brought me to western Queens’ newly-opened H Mart, whose gigantic scale I’ve not experienced since getting lost in the Asian grocery stores of Houston.
Baring it all on the shelves, at waist height, check to cheek, were not just one brand of couque d’asses, but two. On one side was Sanritsu’s matcha-flavored offering, and on the other, a decked-out, striped package containing couque d’asses from Korea’s brand Natural Story. All of this dueling Engrish-Flengrish means it is time for the Omnivorous Traveler’s first Ass Cookie Smackdown.
Let us start with the box from the Japanese brand Sanritsu, since that is the brand that introduced me to the realm of couque d’asses. Edging into the matcha-flavored snack and desert market already crowded with matcha Pocky, matcha bonbons, and matcha mille crepe cake to name a few, the shortbread of the matcha chocolate couque d’asse is dry and slightly rough-textured — as anything named after a langue du chat (cat’s tongue) should be. The matcha filling finished semi-sweetly with a touch of bitterness.
Meanwhile, Natural Story’s classy packaging cannot hide the product’s oversimplified flavor scheme that goes by the only word “white.” So what can one expect from white ass cookies? Excepting a brown racing stripe down their length, these pasty biscuits, more slender than their Japanese competition, utilized a softer shortbread, but yielded scant traces of creamy flavoring, despite the box claiming a filling of “Italian style cream cheese & ultra rich cream.” While the singular naming, couque d’asse, contradicts the box’s plural contents, the name hints at a more grammatically correct attempt that may pin the biscuit’s origin to the Asse municipality of Belgium which, according to Natural Story, is known for its “Italian style cream cheese.” But Asse is in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, not the French speaking part. So now we have Dutch French Engrish with some Italian? Dunchrishian? Ah, I get it — general whiteness.
With such competition out there in boxes utilizing alluring graphic design, you have to know your ass cookies. The winner is — hold your butts — Sanritsu’s matcha chocolate couque d’asses, edging out the challenger by a longer, more pleasant finish. And the use of more proper Engrish.