I've been seeing Pai Cro at Japanese markets for some time, but I was unwilling to fork over the cash they were charging to give them a try. Much to my surprise, I found this bag at Daiso Japan for a mere $1.50. In fact, it seems that Daiso is upping its food game as of late. They've added in more name brand snacks and diversified their line of chocolates to include more varieties. Of course, I haven't been super impressed by their chocolate so far, but hope springs eternal and the price is right (almost all of the products at Daiso are $1.50).
I snapped up the Pai Cro as well as Country Ma'am cookies (another new item) last time that I was at Daiso. I also got a shoehorn, because they have these super long ones that allow lazy people to more easily put their shoes on without bending down much, but this isn't a review of cheap items blog. That being said, at one point, I considered starting a new blog dedicated to 100-yen-shop finds. When I left Japan, the idea died. It could be revived now that I'm living close to a Daiso. The main impediment is my limited need for plastic junk. It's hard to keep buying stuff you don't need just to be sure that you have something to write about. Also, I'm writing eight posts a week already. What do you people think I am, a machine? ;-)
When we made our way to the cashier, an extremely enthusiastic and gregarious young woman, she told us that everyone in the shop was super excited when the Pai Cro was re-stocked as everyone loves it. This increased my interest in what this was going to taste like. However, my tastes don't necessarily match those of peppy women in their early 20's. After all, they like their men muscular with all of their chest hair waxed off and I like my men on the hairy and meaty side. I can't necessarily conclude that our tastes in other areas will overlap when they don't in this crucial area.
There were two flavors of Pai Cro - butter sugar and apple something or other (custard? caramel?). Since I don't remember the apple one, you may guess correctly that I opted for "butter sugar". Also, the title of this post is a tip-off about which variety is getting reviewed. Attentive readers may have noted that already. Inattentive ones have just looked at the pictures in the post and skipped to the rating anyway and aren't even reading all of this blathering.
Getting to the Pai Cro, as soon as you open the bag, you smell margarine and bread crumbs. Though there is some butter in this, it's pretty far down on the ingredients list. There is a lot of oil though - three vegetable oils (palm, coconut, and rice), butter, and "butter oil". I'm pretty sure the crispness of these comes from their being fried like a potato chip. These are pretty caloric as the nutrition information for 2.47 oz./70 grams says one bag is 2.3 servings at 151 calories per serving.
These are super crispy and light. They have a real sense of being like a sweet buttered crouton, but they're finer than that in texture and much less tough to chew. They shatter apart rather appealingly, but there is definitely a strong flavor of "bread" to them. The bread flavor is not good quality bread, but rather like the crust on common white bread that has been toasted. It really does not bring a croissant to mind, at least not to my taste buds.
This is a very "junky" snack which has both qualities of being appealing (crispy, sweet, buttery), but also tastes "cheap" (tasting like cheap bread and margarine/oil). This is a blog about junk food, however, so it is to be expected that such things would come up from time to time. This is tasty junk, but I think those who are used to eating a lot of processed food (and I'm not, despite my blogging about Japanese snacks) will find this more appealing than I did. I will slowly finish the bag, and I'm interested enough to try another flavor, but I wouldn't buy this one again.