Friday, July 28, 2017

Porinki Asari Corn

My friends and I have an inside joke about corn. I'm not exactly certain how this happened, but it is a lot like being a Monty Python fan. The more you say something, the funnier it becomes, but only to you and everyone else thinks you're a dip. So, it's hard for me not to extoll the virtues of anything which is corn flavored in a humorous way that will not be funny to anyone outside of me and the few friends that are in on the gag.

I say all of that to preface that this gets bonus points to begin with for being corn flavored in any way or including corn in the ingredients. I'm sorry if you don't understand, but that's just the way it has to be. It would be against my nature not to believe in the greatness of corn. All hail the all-mighty corn!

With that out of the way, I'll mention the fact that this is made with a flavoring which is very common in Japan, but that I've rarely experienced here. It is what the Japanese often refer to as "corn potage" flavor and would be seen in the U.S. as a corn chowder.

This is made by a company, Koikeya, that I know very well from my time in Japan as they produce some of the most well-distributed salted snack foods. It has several highly recognizable products including "scon", which has nothing to do with what you'd think it might (scones) and is a salted snack food and this product, Polinki. They also sell a brand of chips which is quite uninventively called "Potato Chips." Yes, that's the brand right there.

The name, "asari" or "assari" (not sure how to romanize these things anymore), indicates that it is going to be a plain or clean flavor. This is meant to convey the flavor of sweet corn, pure and simple without a whole lot of complexity. It could also me "light" or "delicate" flavor, but that seems unlikely given that the corn flavoring on this is very present and deliciously sweet and authentic to the flavor of corn (the king of all grains). Also, the ingredients do include various seasonings including citric acid and tomato powder so it does have some depth. This is very savory and tasty in a way that is hard to convey in words.

The snack itself is reminiscent of a triangular Chex cereal piece, but it is pure crispy badness in terms of its contents. As far as I can tell, this isn't even something which contains actual grains and is a totally processed food. The ingredients list is a little confusing in this regard because you'd think the rigid lattice of the snack would contain corn (because it's the king and that's the flavoring of this), but it mainly seems to be composed of modified starches, cornstarch, and vegetable oil. This is not just junk food, it's super junky junkfood.

However, I don't blog about snack foods based on their nutrition profiles. If I wanted to do that, I'd have to wear yoga pants, shop at Whole Foods, and fret about how to prepare my kale this evening. Trust me, nobody wants to see any of those things happen, especially the first one. So, I will evaluate this completely based on how satisfying it is. The corn taste is amazing. The crunch is right on point. This is a great salted snack food and I wish the bag had been a lot bigger.

While I got this as part of the Oyatsucafe Dagashi box, you can find other sellers online. Tokyo Otaku Mode shop sells them, but lists them as currently out of stock. Similarly, a place called Cosme Store also has them listed, but presently out of stock. Amazon has a version of these for sale, but also says they are out of stock. I don't know what is up with that, but these are a popular inclusion in many Japanese subscription boxes. Maybe everyone is buying them up to put in boxes or something. If you'd like to try them, I'd recommend contacting one of the entities who sell them and see when they'll be available again.

Source: Oyatsucafe "Dagashi box" (part of a $15/month subscription box)


Justin said...

Hi, just wanted to share how happy I am to see you've resumed blogging, I've been following your blog since 2010 and your posts are one of a handful of blogs I look forward to reading each day. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts and experiences on japanese snacks!

Orchid64 said...

Thank you for reading and for your kind words, Justin! I am trying to make sure I get in a new post every Friday so people know when to come. I'm glad to see people coming back!