Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Kaki No Tane ("Persimmon Seeds" Sembei) with Peanuts
This is another one of those snacks that I have seen for years in Japan and never bothered to buy. A big reason for this is that most of the time kaki no tane (kaki = persimmon, no = of, tane = seed) is sold in fairly large quantities. I'm sure there are small packs around, but I just never went out of my way to find them. This is the sort of snack that people buy for their families to nosh on, perhaps while watching television.
There are many companies that produce these. Mine just happened to be made by a company with no on-line profile named Sweet Box, Inc. (株式会社スイートボックス). I found this at the 99 yen shop and figured that this was a relatively small bag and cheap so it was past time to try this well-known and oft-enjoyed savory snack. These are frequently eaten with beer or other alcoholic beverages and are part of the category of snacks to be eaten with alcohol called otsumami.
The bag is 150 grams and contains 6 packets. Each packet is 120 calories. There are generous amounts of peanuts in each bag and that's what you smell when you open a packet. The sembei doesn't really carry much of a scent.
The little slivers of sembei are slick and shiny. They taste like plain sembei, but carry some heat. The heat isn't present on the first bite, but comes cumulatively and as an aftertaste. The peanuts are blanched so they just carry a nice peanut flavor with no heavy roasted or burnt flavors. The sembei is quite crispy and the entire mix isn't salted. The ingredients include peanuts, rice, starch, soy sauce, sugar, dried bonito extract, hydrolyzed protein, salt, sea tangle extract, seasoning, sorbitol, paprika color, caramel color, and spices extract. I'm guessing their savory nature comes from the soy sauce mainly, but also whatever spices are in the final extract.
These are very good, even for someone who isn't mad about sembei like me. I love the mix of the peanuts with the crispy and very mildly hot little pieces of sembei. Even though this was a very cheap brand made by a no name company, it seems very well-made and fresh tasting. This is a snack I'll definitely pick up again some time, particularly at 16 yen per serving.