Monday, January 9, 2012

Echigoseika Funwari Meijin (Kinako Sembei)

There are few things in Japan which I consider to be a type of food crack for me. In fact, I think that even using "crack" to talk about the addictive quality of certain things is monumentally over-used by people. I don't think I've ever needed to use that term before. There is a first time for everything.

Echigoseika makes several varieties of "fluffy" (funwari) sembei. In fact, I'm not sure if I can accurately call it sembei, but I do because that is the section that it is sold in in snack shops and markets and glutinous rice is one of the main ingredients. Well, it's the third one after sugar and vegetable oil. The fact that the first two ingredients are part of the bad food trifecta (the third is salt) should indicate how healthy these must be. That is to say, not very much. The other two flavors are white chocolate and cheese. The thing all of these have in common is that they are light, delicate, and they melt in your mouth when you eat them. They are like nothing I have ever had before in the U.S., but I can say that they have a strong enough texture for minimal crunch and a melting quality that makes them collapse in a pile of flavor on the tongue.

As one might guess from the introduction, I loved, no, no, ADORED these. The kinako (roasted soybean powder) gives them a roasted nut flavor which is similar to peanut butter. They have a great blend of salty and sweet layered on top of the nutty flavor. This comes together in a burst of incredible flavor which is potent, but not overbearing. I'm grateful that a bag comes with 6 individual (14 gram/.5 oz.) packets in order to encourage portion control because it would be easy to open a bag and just eat the whole thing. While each packet is only 72 calories, eating all 6 of them at once would pretty much constitute the better part of a meal's calories. 

These are awesome. If you see them, buy them and gain some weight enjoying them. Unless you really hate salty sweets or are super, duper sensitive to soy powder flavor (though this really does taste peanut-buttery), I can't imagine these would  not be a hit. Like the white chocolate sembei, I can't believe these would not make an excellent souvenir if you're in Japan. Even fussy Western palates should find these quite tasty. 


Japan-Australia said...

Wow! They sound awesome and an interesting combo of ingredients :)

Japan Australia

Rodzilla said...

I wish I could find these online

Orchid64 said...

Someone really should carry the whole line of fluffy sembei!

totoro said...

I am wondering about one thing. Is "Kinako", powdered soybeans, popular in foreign countries? In Japan, Kinako is easy to get. How about your country? Kinako is very rich in nutrient, so, good for our health. Kinako-sweet is something healty feeling for me. I would like to try this fluffy sembei.

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Totoro! Kinako is not popular in America and, as far as I know, not easy to get. It's really too bad because it is so tasty.

I've read that American soy bean powder has been "de-fatted", so I would guess it isn't as good as what is sold in Japan.