Tuesday, May 12, 2009
White Gratin Curl
Sometimes you see a product and never give its name a second thought. Take the "Curl" line of processed corn snacks as an example. I've seen a variety of these little cups of salted snack food badness around for well over a decade, but I never noticed that they are straight sticks. There's absolutely nothing curly about these curls except the flourishes on the katakana writing of the name.
Most of the time, Curl products (made by Meiji) are flavored with curry or cheese, so this white gratin variation caught my eye. One of my favorite foods from Japanese restaurants early on during my stay was a mushroom rice gratin that was sold at an ostensibly "Mexican" restaurant near my home. With fond memories of that dish (before the restaurant swapped to Korean barbecue joint), I picked this up.
After peeling off the foil top, I gave it a sniff and was greeted with the scent of cheese powder, much like that in thousands of other cheesy corn snacks, though this was a bit less pungent than something like Cheetos. The first taste was of cheese, followed by onion, corn and a hint of parsley. These are rather salted, but not overdone. The texture is light and crispy. They remind me of a super puffy Cheeto.
The flavorings in these include pork oil, chicken extract powder, cheese powder, onion powder, whey powder, and parsley. It's nicely savory and has slightly interesting flavors, but is dominated by a rather artificial cheese and onion taste. The entire 41 gram (1.4 oz.) container has 228 calories. It felt like a whole lot of calories for very little substance and that is one reason that I wouldn't buy these again. It just felt like too little pleasure for the caloric investment. If I'm going to go for something salty as food amusement, I think I can do better elsewhere.
Note: This product is named after a corn puff type snack which actually is curl-shaped. I realize it is a brand name rather than a description of the snacks in this cup.