How would you like some shiitake mushroom flavoured crisps?
Or squid peanut boules?
Of course, I had to try these, in the interest of science. The crisps didn’t taste of mushrooms, and the peanut boules had no discernible flavour of squid.
Maybe a Thai in UK would find smokey bacon or cheese and onion flavoured crisps just as far removed from the taste of the genuine food article. Apparently, smokey bacon flavoured crisps have no meat in them at all; they are “safe” for vegetarians to eat.
Perhaps food scientists here in Thailand and at home in Leicester came up with a chemical soupçon, an essence of a popular local food, such as squid or cheese, which convinces the palate that we are eating the genuine article, albeit in snack form. We suspend belief while we munch. But we are probably drinking beer or watching tv while we are snacking, so the signals from our taste buds are overridden. The junk foods are just salty and fatty.