So the other day as I was faithfully drinking a beer in Bangkok with a straw which the 7-11 cashier had provided me with, I started to read the information on a package of a snack I bought to eat with my beer.

The snack was “Peanuts and Mixed Anchovy” (that’s right, just one anchovy. . . albeit a “mixed” one). I bought it because the package said that it is “fit 4 active lifestyle” and that it is “spicy.” That all fits the kind of life I like to live, so I decided to give it a try.

I liked it, and as I was eating it, I started to read the back of the package, pausing at times to sip my beer through the straw thoughtfully provided by the 7-11 cashier.

The ingredients were listed as follows: peanuts, seasoned anchovys (sic.) [ah, so there is more than one!!] (white sesame, sugar, salt, chilli [sic.]), fried garlic, palm olein (sic.), dry chilli (sic.), kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and salt.

That’s a good combination, and indeed, the snack does taste pretty good.

After taking another sip of my beer through the straw, I then read a section called “allergy information.” That section stated the following:

“Product contains fish, sesame seeds and peanuts. Produced in a facility that also produces gluten (wheat) and other tree nuts. May contain gluten and other tree nuts.”

Now that is a fascinating statement!! Basically what this company – Tong Garden Food, with operations in Malaysia and Singapore – is saying is something like the following:

“So this product is supposed to have certain ingredients in it, but we make other products at our factory, and we don’t always clean the equipment, so it’s anyone’s guess what you might actually be eating right now.”

However, as the package states, “If you are not completely satisfied with our products, we gladly replace  your purchase.”

What will they replace it with? God only knows, as they themselves apparently have no control over what it is that they are actually producing. It could be “Peanuts Mixed Anchovy” or it might in fact be “Gluten Mixed Tree Nuts Anchovy.”

Ah but at least they are honest.

And in the end, whatever this is, it tastes pretty good, at least when accompanying beer through a straw. So give it a try the next time you are in Bangkok, or wherever else Tong Garden Food’s fine products are sold, and beer is drunk through a straw.