Thursday, February 12, 2009
Edamame Rice Crackers (Kameda Seika brand)
Edamame is a young soybean served in its pod. It's often boiled with salt and then eaten whole, usually with beer. Most of my experience eating edamame in Japan has been at Japanese bars (called izakaya). For a bean, they are pretty darn tasty. My husband isn't a great fan of things in the vegetable oeuvre, but he does like these.
Edamame is currently hot with the foodie crowd in the West right now. It's become quite the fad if you believe food blogs. People who are too erudite for the likes of green beans talk about using edamame. To be fair, these do taste better than green beans or peas. Nonetheless, I will continue to imply that they are snobs, while secretly agreeing with their preference for these fine beans in a pod.
I picked these up in a local supermarket for 200 yen ($2.24). The entire bag is 90 grams (3.2 oz.) and contains 6 small packets. There are about 15 small crackers per packet. If you do the math, you learn that each little bag has 65 calories. Compared to something like potato chips, they are slightly less caloric and have just about the same amount of fat. They may be a little better nutritionally since they are made primarily with soybeans, followed by rice, and vegetable oil. They also contain a small amount of peas, though peas comes later on the ingredient list than salt so it can't be many.
These are brought to us by Kameda Seika, maker of a wide variety of rice cracker snacks. Most recently, I reviewed their cayenne pepper sembei. Since I like edamame, but am so-so on sembei, I wasn't quite sure how I'd react to these, but I was looking forward to trying them. The truth is that I'd been eyeballing these in the store for awhile before I took the plunge. I wasn't apprehensive, mind you, but just had too much other stuff to try.
They smell like edamame which is no great surprise. They also have a hint of the usual rice cracker scent. Each cracker is super crispy and perfectly salted with what appears to be extra fine salt. There's a bit of a chlorophyll flavor in there, like a smidgen of grassiness. Though there is a lot of edamame in them, it's not an overwhelming flavor. It's well-balanced with the blander toasted rice flavor.
These are immensely satisfying as a salty snack treat and more earthy and natural tasting than a potato chip. I'll definitely buy these again and strongly recommend them to anyone looking for something more interesting than a chip, but still desiring the same salty and crispy aspects. I bet these would go great with guacamole as well or a sour cream-based dip. The only thing I wish was so was that these were lower in fat and less caloric. That's mainly so I could feel good about eating them from a nutritional viewpoint rather than only from a satisfaction perspective.