Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Kameda Seika Four Cheese Rice Crackers
If one cheese is good, then four types of cheese must be better, right? I'm not sure if that works after sampling this sembei. If you pair a potent cheese with less potent cheeses, the dominant ones are bound to take over. That sounds it bit like the lesser cheeses are the passive ones in the relationship. I'm not sure if that's somewhere I'd like to go.
I found this cheese sembei at Okashi no Machioka sweets shop for about 160 yen ($1.78). It contains six 13-gram bags of crackers. The contents of an entire bag (pictured below) is only 58 calories so the size is right for snacking. The ingredients include rice, vegetable oil, cheese seasoning (including soy, chicken and pork), cheese powder, salt, butter oil, and soy sauce powder. There are a lot of seasonings in it so one has hopes for good depth to the flavor.
The main scent is that of Parmesan cheese. The texture is crispy, but also a little soft. I think that these aren't baked as long as other types of rice crackers to avoid that strong flavor that comes with such baking. It gives you a vague sense that they're marginally stale, but they certainly are not. The outside has a fine powder on it, but it's not as bad as something like Cheetos and won't turn your fingers a different color.
The flavor is dominated by Parmesan, followed by Gorgonzola. The other two cheeses are cheddar and Gouda, but you can't really detect them much. Gouda isn't a strong cheese normally anyway, and I have to imagine it would only lend a buttery flavor at best. Frankly, there is a cheese-like pungency to these but a lack of sharpness or bite which I'd prefer to have. I'm guessing a little more salt may have helped out in this regard, but I can't say for sure.
I liked these just fine, but the somewhat soft texture and the less than sharp cheese flavor made them something I'm indifferent to. It's rather a shame really as I will happily finish off the bag and I certainly love the portion size and the potential associated with them. If these are ever redone by Kameda Seika, I'd happily give them a second chance.