Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kameida Black and White Pepper Sembei

Most people are familiar with Peugeot. It's a car maker, right? Well, a few months ago, I learned that they make pepper mills. In fact, they've been making pepper mills since 1842. I think they need to work on their brand name recognition for their cooking instruments. No company wants to only be known for its world class cars when it's got a line of fine pepper and salt mills for the discerning culinary types out there.

Of course, I'm by no means a discerning culinary type, but I do like coarsely ground black pepper in big visible bits. When I make a salad, I break out the pepper and salt mills to liberally sprinkled it with crunchy seasoning. Given my predilection for highly visible spices, I couldn't resist this bag of sembei. In fact, I noticed that there were two types with visible pepper on display, so I wonder if several food manufacturers have bought themselves some fine Peugeot pepper mills and decided to put them to good use.

Each is individually wrapped and 33 calories for each 7 cm (2.7 in.) cracker. The ingredients include two kinds of rice, vegetable oil, black pepper, salt, fish extract powder, garlic powder, extract of kelp powder, soy sauce powder, garlic oil, onion powder, and white pepper. As you can see, the white pepper is far down on the list. I have a feeling someone added a pinch into the seasoning mix just so they could put a more interesting graphic on the bag and that it doesn't figure at all in the overall taste.

These sembei have an excellent, crispy texture and feel deep-fried (hence the vegetable oil being second on the ingredients list). They are pretty salty in a good way and the little flecks of pepper burned the corners of my mouth. Still, that being said, I could have used a little more pepper. It's probably just about right for a normal human being who doesn't love black pepper as much as I do.

I enjoyed these quite a lot and would certainly consider buying them again. However, I'll probably give another pepper sembei a try first just in case the other maker was a bit more liberal with the coarse pepper bits.


Minna said...

Just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I love your blog. It's one of the most interesting and well written snack review sites I've seen. I'll definitely be checking back for more :)

Orchid64 said...

Thanks, Minna! That was a really wonderful thing to say and I appreciate it. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. :-)

The pictures on your site are gorgeous!

Wyatt said...

It's good to see another lover of pepper around. I throw it in everything. That said I think I'd still enjoy these. I love pepper enough that just a small amount still helps something go a long way with me.

Great job on the blog.

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Wyatt, and thanks for your comment.

I think black pepper is somewhat underestimated by most people because it seems boring and old-fashioned compared to newer things like various exotic peppers and Asian spices. I'm sure black pepper seems like Grandma's spice to some people, but I'm guessing that idea would be based on boring finely-ground black pepper, not freshly ground coarse stuff.

Kelly said...

I remember buying these when I first started getting interested in Japanese food, some 15 years ago (and I couldn't read the kanji) so I thought those specs were black sesame seeds.

How wrong I was!! :) Oh they were so hot and burnt my mouth. I've never bought them again.

That said I do like salt and pepper as a seasoning, I just think for me there was way too much pepper on these.

Glad you liked them :)