You’re probably eyeing the title with great suspicion now. Healthy snacking? That sounds too good to be true. Well, that’s what we thought until we encountered this Singapore-based brand. ZENKO Superfoods is a start-up that has devoted themselves to sourcing for, and presenting to us, the best superfoods from around the world, the more obscure the better.
Just think about your last trip down the glorious supermarket aisle. We’re blessed with chips galore, from ones drenched in truffle oil to the reliable sea salt & vinegar, to even crispy fish skin; but when have you heard of water lily pops?
Low in calories yet energy-boosting, zero trans fat, low in fat, and a good source of protein and antioxidants, these are just some of the benefits of their Water Lily Pops, or Makhana, which are made up of 100% water lily seeds.
These seeds are harvested, sun-dried, roasted, and then popped — very much like popcorn — into circular balls that are light and delightfully crunchy. Just like popcorn, but the healthier version of course.
In fact, take a look at the ingredients list for the Original flavour. This one’s an undeniable favourite of co-founder Wouter Duyck, a self-professed fitness junkie who was happy to report that there are only two ingredients used here: water lily seeds, and olive oil. The result is a clean flavour that brings out the natural flavours of the water lily pops, with just a hint of aroma from the olive oil. “At ZENKO Superfoods, we are all about exploring the world to find new, forgotten or hidden superfoods and turn them into delicious snacks that everyone can, and will, enjoy at any time of the day,” shares Wouter Duyck, Co-Founder of ZENKO Superfoods.
Together with fellow co-founder Jochim Goedeweeck, they’re keen on making the brand a responsible and sustainable one as well. All their snacks are sustainably-sourced and produced locally on-site; the seeds of water lily flowers are found in the North-Eastern Indian state of Bihar, with Jochim leading the operation in India by working directly with local communities.
Another thing of note is that these aren’t the usual bland snacks packaged as healthy food — a lot of research has gone into making sure the Water Lily Pops taste good! These guilt-free snacks, less than 120 Kcals per pack, are available in four flavours: Spicy, Cheddar Cheese, Himalayan Pink Salt, and Original.
We gave all of this a go, and I really enjoyed the Himalayan Pink Salt version. The texture of the pops were very similar to popcorn, everything from the way they crunch in your mouth, but had a lighter, more clean flavour profile that was subtly accentuated by salt and olive oil.
The Cheddar Cheese flavour was delicious as well, and I can see this being a crowd-favourite for its fuller, more addictive taste. Then again, Spicy is just as delectable since it’s been seasoned with a spice blend of red chilli, coriander, garlic and onion powder. All I can say is, thankfully these are as guilt-free as they come.
For sweet tooths, you might just fall in love with their other product, the Ancient Grain Clusters. Made from tiny popped Sorghum seeds, a crop that dates back to 8,000 B.C., these mini popcorn-like grains are clustered together with either honey or dark chocolate for maximum enjoyment — that is, both good flavour and its nutritional value of high-fibre and antioxidants.
$3.50 each, available at zenkosuperfoods.com, Fairprice Finest, Cold Storage, and Shopee.