Friday, August 21, 2009
Mexican Salsa and Chicken Cratz
My earliest exposure to "Mexican" style snack food in Japan was a bag of "ethnican" flavor chips. I never worked out what nationality the mighty ethnicans came from, but the chips did have a slightly hot, tomato flavor which was reminiscent of salsa. Mexican food isn't big in Japan so you don't find much in the way of food in the salsa-flavored range. I'm guessing this is because the Japanese favor mild flavors rather than complex, heavily spiced foods.
Glico seems to have retired the Alpen Salt and Chicken version of their Cratz pretzel snacks in favor of something new and more ethnican. The light blue bag has been replaced by a deep pink one emblazoned with a simple cactus. Like all of the Cratz line, these cost between 100 and 140 yen (about $1 to $1.40) for 44 grams (1.5 oz.) depending on where you buy them. Because of the roasted almonds, there are more calories in these than an equivalent amount of something like potato chips. The whole bag is 223 calories.
When you open the bag, it smells like salsa and ketchup with a melange of savory spices mixed in. The pretzels are dense, super crunchy and a little hard. The flavor is very intense, as is the case with the other types of Cratz. They're clearly made to be eaten with a beverage so that your palate is cleansed between bites. There's a little heat in these that hits at the back of the tongue and throat. They're quite spicy with tomato, onion, garlic, and chicken flavors. The ingredients include salsa seasoning, chicken extract powder, tomato paste, and bacon extract.
I liked these quite a bit, but less so than the other flavors of Cratz. I think they reproduced a salsa-ish flavor pretty well, but it's a bit too intense even with a Diet Coke to wash them down between bites. I also noticed that there seemed to be far fewer almonds in this than the previous bags. It could simply be that I was unlucky though. I'd buy these again if I were in the right mood, but I'd be more likely to buy the bacon pepper or cheddar varieties.