Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bakauke Sea Salt Wasabi Sembei

The company that makes "Bakauke" brand products is now called "Befco". Hearing that name reminds me of Back to the Future 2 and the "Biffco Enterprises" in that movie. I think the name change is the result of the brands growing market penetration and popularity. Their web site has also seen some improvements since I last looked in on it.

This is actually the second Bakauke wasabi sembei that I've reviewed. The other one was a limited edition that was sold only in convenience stores and is no longer available. This version is a combined effort with a company that produces a brand of salt called Shimamaasu. This one also differs compared to the former wasabi sembei in that it includes nori in the dough.

The addition of nori changes the taste profile of this cracker by adding a grassiness to the flavor. It mainly comes through on the first bite and settles in as an aftertaste on the tongue after that. I can't say if the sea salt is adding much, but these are pleasantly salty and savory. The addition of soy sauce flavoring is probably helping that along.

The thing I can definitely say about these sembei is that they are for hardcore consumers of wasabi. Even one serving (2 crackers - 38.7 calories) provides a big wasabi punch. Unless I pause for a long time between crackers and drink between each bite, my nasal passages really burned from eating these. It was like someone sprayed the inside of my nose with lemon juice. It burns! It burns!

I found these at Okashi no Machioka snack shop for about 180 yen ($1.97). Each bag contains nine packets of two crackers. If you're a fan of wasabi, I can recommend these without reservation, but with the warning that they're not for the weak-tongued. These are a summer release, so I expect that they'll eventually disappear, so grab a bag while you can.

If you'd like to download a calendar for June featuring the bakauke cartoon mascots, you can get it here.

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