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Cereal Eats: Lion Cereal

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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

While I languished in Florida over the holiday break, other Serious Eaters were far and away in wild and exciting places. Jamie went to Cyprus, Kenji went to Turkey, and Robyn went to London, where she encountered Lion cereal. Luckily for me, she brought me some back to try.

During our candy-fest back in October, Jamie wrote about her first time trying a Lion bar. She makes many wonderful points about its fantastic label, crispy rice, and pleasant Twix-like construction. I have my own history with Lion bars, which goes a little something like this:

When I was 14, my parents thought it would be great to take the Paris-Milan overnight train during our family trip to Europe. The train was filled with rank-smelling Italian men and we were right near the bathroom, where old ladies who looked straight out of 1800's eastern Europe were taking up residence for 40 minutes at a time. The scent of that train is burned into my nose and my memory forever.

Oh yeah, the Lion bar. I had excitedly purchased it before we got on the train. It turned out there was no dinner, which we didn't realize, so Lion bar ended up being my evening meal. I ate it curled up in my tiny hard bunkbed, with my raincoat zipped up to my nose. I think I actually liked the Lion bar, but I can't look at one without going back to that awful, awful ride...

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In the years since, I've forgiven the Lion bar, and more importantly, I'm definitely not mad at its cereal form. Despite the fact that caramel cereal has almost never worked, Lion bar takes a stab at it and actually succeeds. But what I think is most interesting and humorous about this cereal—named after a big cat—is how closely it resembles cat food.

The pieces of cereal are a mix of chocolate and caramel flavors (well, they're dark brown and gold, but methinks they may actually all taste the same) and literally look and feel exactly like dry cat food. It gave me such a chuckle I just kept eating dry handfuls, and you know what? I eventually realized I actually really like the taste. It's a pleasant, lightly sweet, ever-so-slightly chocolatey cereal with a nice kibble-y crunch to it.

I've started seeing Lion bars in my local bodega, which begs the question: is Lion cereal lurking Stateside? Has anyone tried it or seen it?

About the author: Aside from doing an awesome job with her role as Advertising Sales Manager, Leandra Palermo secretly harbors a lifelong passion with all things crunchy and served with icy cold skim milk. This column represents the culmination of that love affair.

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