by Michael Hsu, 01/29/2013 [Updated 12/21/2015]
Photo: Alexander Thompson
37 Mott St., 212-233-7650
If you're new to the world of Asian candies and snacks, a trip to Aji Ichiban—more commonly known as Munchies Paradise—provides an essential crash course. The store is packed with all manner of sweets and savories in clear bins, so you see exactly what a flan-filled marshmallow or haw-flavored candy looks like before committing. Products are sold individually instead of in packages, so feel free to buy just a handful of those lychee milk hard candies and a couple of each variety of sweet pickled plum (sometimes sour, sometimes salty). You'll also find savory snacks, like wasabi peas, Japanese rice crackers and even dried squid and cuttlefish. And the store's open-tasting policy welcomes those who are just curious.