Friday, December 6, 2013

Taro Net Seaweed Snack

The snack I'm reviewing today comes courtesy of KS Snacks who kindly sent me a box of goodies from Indonesia. If you'd like to know more about their service, you can check out their web site or my review of their service from a few weeks ago. 

Let's talk about seaweed. I spent many years of my time in Japan turning my nose up at anything that included seaweed. In fact, when I first arrived and had onigiri (rice balls) from the local 7-11 as lunch or a snack, I never used the included seaweed paper to cover it because the whole idea of eating that stuff with my smattering of tuna salad hidden in an enormous amount of rice just grossed me out.

My idea of "seaweed" was based on seeing a pile of kelp on a beach. It was wriggly, smelly, and not a little scary looking. I felt like it's scraggly tentacles were going to wrap around my ankles and drag me through the sand into the bowels of a cruel netherworld. Surely the reason that such plants found themselves suicidally stranded on the beach was that they dreamed of escape. They broke through to our world only to find that they were the horrors to our kind.

OK, not everyone thinks of seaweed as a horror. In fact, some people think of it as "lunch", but I was not one of them. It took many years for me to find it less than repulsive. I started to leave the wakame in my soup or not pick the seaweed flakes off of my rice. I wanted to give it a chance. Though it always tasted like roasted grass to me, I got used to it. I can't say that I ever learned to love it, but I definitely stopped hating it. You can only imagine how that left me poised to experience this snack.

I was very surprised that I didn't hate these immediately. They actually don't smell seriously strongly of seaweed nor taste overpoweringly of it either. They mainly smell like the grain component that they are made up of. I can't read the ingredients list, but I think they are processed potato. I've had this style of very light salted snack before and that's what they are usually made of. The base is light, crispy and salty and the seaweed is only a hint. As seaweed snacks go, this is very palatable, even for someone who is as seaweed averse as me.

That being said, there was a problem with this which I've experienced with similar snacks. That is, there is an odd chemical aftertaste which either comes from the processing of the potato or absorption of the materials used to make the bag. It seems a bit like "plastic" to me, but that could just be my particular perception of things.

The maker of this, TPS Foods, has a web site which is in a state of incompleteness. They have "lorem ipsum dolor" messages all over the front page and their product link is dead. That being said, they picture a bag of this same snack which seems to be called "Cowboy Steak". That name alone would make me want to buy a bag of that flavor. Note that you can get any of the flavors of this snack from KS Snacks for $1.29 (and their prices are now represented on their site in dollars so you don't have to do a currency conversion). While I'd certainly like to try other flavors to see if they do not have the aftertaste I associated with these, I don't believe I'd try this one again.

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