The bodega is the lifeblood of certain neighborhoods in the inner city—especially New York—where not everyone has a car nor the patience to take a train to go grocery shopping. A good corner bodega will have all the essentials one would need to make a meal, while others specialize in sandwiches that would put some mothers to shame.
But let’s be real here: these spots offer some of the best snacks money can buy. Whether you’re a kid on the way to school, or on the block with the munchies after a smoke session, you can take a stroll to your neighborhood bodega to quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth. The bodega has, and will always, be there for you.
I ranked my favorite bodega snacks because the world needs to know what to look for at a corner-store—especially gentrified NYC. Let me open your eyes to some of the best snacks you’re not buying.
10. Big Slice Pops
Pictured is the Cherry flavor, but my go-to is usually the watermelon. These give you that tangy sensation in your jaw like fine wine. Watch out for cavities.
“Yellow diamonds in my ear, call ‘em ‘Lemonheads.’” That’s a quote from Harlem poet Cameron Giles. These are sour on the outside and sweet in the middle, or is it the other way around? I just ate a box and can’t remember.
8. Little Debbie Honey Bun
Rick Ross heats up Honey Buns and melts cheese on them, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I prefer the non-iced buns—they’re not as sickeningly sweet.
7. Now and Later
Pronounced ‘Nowalaters.’ These sweet and sour taffys are a hood favorite. They’ve been around since the first bodega (don’t quote me on that). You can buy them in packs, hence the name ‘Now and Later.’
6. Kisko Freezies
These are perfect for those hot summer days on the block. Blue is my go-to. Be extra careful while wearing a white shirt because spilling some will ruin your day.
5. Wise Chips
I picked up Cheez Doodles because my bodega didn’t have Hot Cheese Popcorn—another strong snack to look out for. When I need something salty to complement my sweet tooth, Wise chips are undefeated.
4. Little Hug Fruit Barrels
Pronounced ‘Quarter Water,’ the proper way to open one is by using your teeth. They taste like Freezies before they’re frozen. We call them Quarter Waters because they contain only three ingredients: sugar, water, and purple (or another food coloring). Perfect for washing down the snacks on this list. These used to cost $0.25 once upon a time, but I’m pretty sure they’re $0.30 now. Blame Obama.
These little fruit chews will change your life. I swear to the heavens above. They’re like Spanish, chewy nowalaters, but better because they’re not as sour.
2. Linden’s Butter Crunch Cookies
Biggie made them famous when he name-dropped them in “Sky’s The Limit.” These are perfect for breakfast. Get a pack of these and a Strawberry Quik and you’re set to drive teachers crazy with your sugar high.
1. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
I was surprised to learn that not too many people outside of the Tri-state are privy to these magical little dark chocolates filled with molasses and peanuts. I am addicted to these and will eat 30 of them in one sitting if left to my own devices. Also, they’re like $0.10 a piece.