Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Happy Turn 200% Happy Powder Sembei
If you could buy a product which says it now contains 200% more "happy powder", you'd buy it, wouldn't you? Of course, my idea of what might constitute "happy powder" and what Kameida Seika believes it is are almost certainly different. In fact, I'm guessing talk of "happy powder" in the U.S. might end up getting you arrested by the undercover vice detectives.
The brand for this, Happy Turn, comes with another crudely-drawn, simple mascot. It's one of the few food items that Kameida Seika releases that has a character attached to it. If you look at the large number of their products that I have reviewed, you'll see that the rest of them are pretty sedate in their packaging. The design is hard to understand at first, but Happy Turn's head is actually one of the rice crackers wrapped in plastic (like a hard candy with the edges crimped off on either side).
While there are several package styles and presentations for these listed on the web site for the product, this 200% happy powder version isn't listed so I can't know for certain if it is appreciably different aside from having more powder. I found this at Seiyu supermarket for about 100 yen (about a dollar). The bag weighs 50 grams and has 253 calories worth of crackers. One of the advertised attributes of these crackers is the fact that they have little crags and crannies in them to hold on to more spice.
When you open the bag, you smell a strong, distinctive smell which is common with sembei in Japan. It's a mixture of that baked rice cracker scent and whatever spices are commonly used. I thought these may actually be fishy crackers, but they are not. Their ingredients list is pretty vague, but my tongue detects a lot of seasoned vinegar flavor as well as a touch of sweetness. This makes them immensely savory and compels one to just pucker up a bit from the sourness. The crackers themselves are fresh, extra crispy and really quite perfect for a puffy ("soft") style sembei.
I really enjoyed these. I liked the strong vinegary flavor and love the texture and crunch of the crackers. I ate half the bag in one sitting and had to resist the urge to eat even more. The flavor may be a bit intense for some people, but it was to my tastes. If you're not a fan of really strong flavors, you might want to forgo the 200% happy powder and go for the regular version of this sembei. I do recommend that you give it a try in one variation or the other.
Note that there was a desktop pattern for this product, but I couldn't get the link to work from my Mac. I'm not sure if the site is set up incorrectly or if it uses code that my Mac doesn't recognize. Either way, I'm afraid those who want a sembei-headed mascot wallpaper are going to be left high and dry.