Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wasabi Kaki No Tane Sembei

Advertising is an interesting art and science. I used to receive a menu for a Chinese restaurant that featured a dish which looked like a whole baby pig, snout to tail, had been roasted and was going to be served to the customer. That grossed me out so much that I never patronized them.

On bags of wasabi-flavored snacks, you often see a green, gnarled root with what looks like broken, scabbed over pustules on it. These roots have never really drawn me to wasabi products, though after seeing them enough, they haven't really repulsed me either. I guess it's a good indication of how cultural experiences shape your perceptions of what is and is not attractive food-wise.

Given my positive experience with Sweet Box's regular kaki no tane (persimmon seeds) with peanuts sembei, I scooped up this wasabi version at the local 100 yen shop. I figured that if the regular kind was good, a hotter, spicier version certainly couldn't be any worse. These Sweet Box packets of snacks are also great value with 6 packets and decent portion control at 120 calories each.

The first bite of these carries a nice hot hit of wasabi. Subsequent bites lack quite the same power, but there are still notes of the wasbi in there. My tongue must have grown accustomed to the flavor after awhile because the heat became more muted as I neared the end of the packet. It's interesting that my experience with these is the opposite of the regular version. The regular type gets hotter as you eat more. These get mellower as you eat more. I guess they use different types of peppers which affect the tongue differently.

I enjoyed these quite a lot. I'd certainly consider buying them again if I was in the mood for a savory peanut-including snack. I wish there was just a bit more wasbi flavor in them, but after my previous wasabi sembei experience, perhaps I should just be glad that it didn't start to burn the back of my nasal passages.


the three of us said...

about the whole baby pig thing - it's actually a relatively common dish! in chinese cuisine, anyway; not sure about elsewhere. people don't usually eat the head or the tail when it's served whole :) my family has it every chinese new year.

Orchid64 said...

Hi, and thanks for your comment and for reading!

I know that my squeamishness is not only lame, but hypocritical. I'll eat the odd pork chop here and there, but I don't want to see little piggy's head and tail. Seeing the head still attached to what I eat just really creeps me out, whether it's fish, chicken or whatever. :-)

One of my students told me that they serve cow's tail in Japan, so I don't know if they eat the tail or not here!

anchan said...

I am totally addicted to the regular kaki no tane, can't stop munching once I start! The chicken and garlic flavour is very good, too. But I just can't stand anything with wasabi, it does something strange to the back of my nose!

Orchid64 said...

Hi, anchan and thank you for commenting!

I've never had (or seen) chicken and garlic kaki no tane, but I'd love to try it! I can completely understand the issue with the back of your nose with wasabi since I had a similar experience with the Bakauke wasabi sembei. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I'm willing to suffer for a good burn. ;-)