Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Kashiwado Calcium Sem
In America, most salt is iodized to make sure that we all don't grow goiters the size of footballs in our necks. In Japan, a great deal of food is fortified with Calcium to make sure that they all don't grow up to have the posture of a question mark. In each culture, the choice of nutrient to fortify is based on the traditional diet. Americans don't eat much seafood and Japanese don't drink much milk or consume very much dairy.
Enter this Calcium sembei, which will promote strong bones and teeth without the pesky effects of lactose intolerance (which is supposedly rampant among Asians). In addition to sembei, wafers and cereal bars often have this mineral added to them. I've had the wafers and they are always rather bland affairs. Keeping that in mind, I was mainly expecting a good textural experience from these crackers rather than strong flavor.
There are 10 packets of 3 crackers in the bag. It cost about 200 yen ($2.30) at a local snack shop and is pretty decent value for the number of servings. A packet is 49 calories for the three sembei.
The crackers don't smell like anything distinct. There is a sort of generic baked rice smell, but they're not like savory sembei because they have no soy sauce, salt, or fish flavor associated with them. My first impression is that they taste like a generic baked cereal cracker that falls somewhere between Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies. They are surprisingly, and almost unpleasantly sweet. They are similar to a type of inauthentic "galette" cookie that is often sold in Japan with a very thin layer of cream between them. It's a cross between a cookie and a cracker.
The sweetness drowns out most of the other flavors, but you can detect margarine in the mix. The first ingredient for these is flour, followed by sugar and margarine is fourth. I also can taste the plastic that the crackers are wrapped in. Perhaps these are a bit on the older side and have absorbed some of the polypropylene odor, but the expiration date was for the middle of next year so they can't be that old.
The texture on these is super crispy and satisfying, but the sweetness is just too much and the plastic flavor isn't helping. I may slowly finish these off as a tea accompaniment when I want something sweet but don't want to eat a lot of calories, but there's every chance that I may end up tossing them after eating one or two more packets.