General term for snack foods like potato chips and pop corn

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meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, I'm looking for a general term for snack foods that are made by frying carbohydrates such as potato, corn, beans and therefore have a crisp texture. Examples of these foods are potato chips and popcorn, but not all of these foods are bad for health.

Unfortunately, some individual or company in 19xx started calling these snack foods just "sunakku" (=snack) here in Japan, and this sunakku has been used widely ever since and often appears in a document I need to translate into English. I can't just use the English word snack because it basically means anything you eat between meals. What term would you sugget I use for Japan's snakku?

Thanks
 
  • Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    The term that comes to mind is "junk food."
    Here is the definition from the WR dictionary:
    food that is low in nutritional value, often highly processed or ready-prepared, and eaten instead of or in addition to well-balanced meals
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    @mr cat: On the page you provide a link to, I read "Crisps, Savoury Snacks and Nuts."
    This wording leads me to believe that crisps (potato chips) would not be considered a "savoury snack."
    Is this correct? Or are crisps just one example of a "savoury snack"?
     

    mr cat

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Is this correct? Or are crisps just one example of a "savoury snack"?
    It's not something that's kept me awake at night :) but I think you could put them all under the same term. I'm guessing that 'savoury snacks' came about as a term to describe the plethora of things that aren't nuts or crisps, but essentially I think they are the same thing. (Now watch a food historian appear and put me right!)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hi, I'm looking for a general term for snack foods that are made by frying carbohydrates such as potato, corn, beans and therefore have a crisp texture.
    I think you have almost provided your own answer: such things are known as "snacking food" but this also includes nuts, seeds, raisins, dried fruit, etc. They are usually sold in packets sufficient for one person.

    If they look like a crisp (AE = a potato chip) then they would be called crisps or, if not, their trade name would be used.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I think "junk food" includes foods like hamburgers and french fries from fast-food restaurants, so it's not the same as our sunakku. Sunakku are not eaten with, or as part of, a meal. Dictionaries say the English word "snack" is a small portion of food or drink eaten between regular meals (taken from the WR dictionary), so even ice cream can be a snack in my opinion. As for popcorn, I was wrong. It's not fried (it's roasted) and not crisp either, but it's definitely sunakku. I don't know how to accurately describe sunakku, but biscuits/cookies and dried nuts aren't quite sunakku (because they aren't junky like potato chips and popcorn).

    "Savory snacks" and "snacking food" in BE are probably the closest to sunakku (thank you mr cat and Paul for these!). I wonder what the U.S. versions of these terms are.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Nuts, seeds, potato chips, popcorn, raisins, etc. are all snacks.

    Potato chips and popcorn are also junk food, because they have little or no nutritional value.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Nuts, seeds, potato chips, popcorn, raisins, etc. are all snacks.


    Potato chips and popcorn are also junk food, because they have little or no nutritional value.
    That's my understanding since I said, "I can't just use the English word snack because it basically means anything you eat between meals" and "I think junk food includes foods like hamburgers and french fries."

    How would "crispy snack foods" work in your context? Or, "crunchy snack foods."
    Thank you, MuttQuad. I think "crunchy snack foods" would work well since crunchy can cover the textures of both chips and popcorn, and is not quite the texture of nuts, seeds, raisins, or dried fruit, if I'm not mistaken.


    :)
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    I can't just use the English word snack because it basically means anything you eat between meals" and "I think junk food includes foods like hamburgers and french fries.
    Your own definition of "sunakku" would seem to include french fries: "snack foods that are made by frying carbohydrates such as potato..."
    I'm not sure I'd call hamburgers, especially those prepared at home with good quality meat (as opposed to hamburgers from fast-food restaurants), junk food.
    I think "crunchy snack foods" would work well since crunchy can cover the textures of both chips and popcorn, and is not quite the texture of nuts, seeds, raisins, or dried fruit, if I'm not mistaken.
    This is what I was initially going to propose in post #2 until I realized that a carrot qualifies as a "crunchy snack" but does not qualify, by your definition, as "sunakku."
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you, LH. I also wouldn't call quality hamburgers junk food (and that's why I added "from fast-food restaurants" in post #8 :)).

    I never thought about carrot (raw carrot, correct?), so thanks for pointing it out. But, come to think of it, only a tiny percentage (probably less than 1%) of people eat raw carrot or any other crunchy/crispy raw vegetables between meals here in Japan, so I think I can safely use crunchy snack foods for sunakku.

    French fries may be disputable since they are indeed crunchy, but only for the first 10 minutes or so after being served. There are very crispy french fries sold in sealed plastic bags (just like potato chips) here in Japan (and maybe in your country too), and they are definitely sunakku.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Potato chips and popcorn are also junk food, because they have little or no nutritional value.
    I question popcorn being labeled a junk food. Here are some nutrition facts from the Popcorn Board.

    In any case, I don't see "junk food" as being a good label, even if it applied only to snacks. It's a judgmental label, and I think a neutral label is best here.

    I agree with sdgraham – we call them snacks.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    @sdgraham & Copyright:
    So, am I right in thinking that you (or any other AE speakers) don't call hot dogs, slices of pizza, sandwiches, candy, etc. eaten between the three meals snacks? :confused:
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    @sdgraham & Copyright:
    So, am I right in thinking that you (or any other AE speakers) don't call hot dogs, slices of pizza, sandwiches, candy, etc. eaten between the three meals snacks? :confused:
    A lot depends on context – so I think you can use snacks for your purpose. If the items you mentioned were on a list and I was asked for a general name for each of them, I would not choose "snack" for any of them.

    But others might consider half a sandwich and a glass of milk – or an apple or a banana – between meals a snack, and I would find it difficult to disagree. I don't think you're going to find a perfect word, so I would like to again push "snack" in your direction.

    I also wouldn't get too hung up on savory, but that's me. :)
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks, Copyright. That means I can use just snacks when the context tells or suggests they are crunchy, savory snacks, doesn't it? That's good to know! :)

    Then I wonder.....if someone in the U.S./U.K. invited me to his/her house and asked me, "Would you like some snacks?," should I expect to be served stuff like chips and popcorn because the question would be "Would you like some sandwitches?" if he/she wanted to offer sandwiches and "Would you like some candy (BE: sweets)?" if chocolates, etc.?
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    If you were at someone's house in the U.S. and they asked you if you would like a snack (Would you like a snack?),
    I wouldn't expect to be served a certain specific food. The snacks you will be offered will vary greatly depending on
    the personal eating habits of the people offering the snacks.
    Some people snack on potato chips, others might have yogurt or fruit as a snack. The possibilities are endless.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks, LH. That's good to know.

    >Would you like a snack?
    Ah...that's right. One snack per snack time no matter how many snack foods are served during the period. :thumbsup:
     
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