My husband and I have received this particular brand of cookie twice as souvenir gifts from Japanese folks. The first time, we received a large box of them and this time a somewhat smaller packet. In both cases, the cookies were wrapped inside of their larger packaging in two-packs. We did our best to savor these wonderful cookies and make them last awhile. They are little white sweet blocks of cookie heaven.
a big box of these delectable biscuits
There are a wide variety of confectioners who make these types of biscuits. These ones were made by Nanpudo and can be ordered on their site, though they are generally purchased as a souvenir from Okinawa (as they are a specialty of that area). Several of the makers of chinsukou have ships as part of their logo or the cookie packaging. This is a common icon because the word chinsukou is related to the Yangtze River in China. It's not exactly clear, but there is a relationship between sinking snow and salt and the Yangtze which have something to do with the story behind these cookies. Fortunately, the cookies taste nothing of snow, salt or the Yangtze river.
These cookies is that they are a good example of how some similar food concepts develop independently of one another. These are mainly made of lard, flour, and sugar and are very much like a shortbread cookie you might buy in the U.K. These are a bit more sugary than conventional shortbread and this particular variety also has a wonderful vanilla flavor which is pronounced but not overwhelming. In fact, the taste is likened to vanilla ice cream by the marketers who sell these cookies.
When you sniff the cookies, they smell like fresh Christmas sugar cookies. The smell is very familiar and not at all foreign to those of us who grew up outside of Japan. They are dense, but crumbly. They have coarse bits of sugar in them which add to both the texture and taste. They start off mildly sweet and floury and get a bit sweeter (in a good way) as you nibble away.
As I've mentioned before when writing about snacks sold mainly as souvenirs, there is no calorie information, but I'm guessing these are very evil on that front given the main ingredients. That being said, the cookies are very small and the two-packs encourage portion control.
If you're in Okinawa and are looking for a souvenir to take back home, by all means buy these. I can't imagine anyone would find these anything but a delight unless they had some crazy aversion to nutritionally suspect food. Pick yourself up a box (or two) to have with tea or coffee as well if you have the self-control not to eat yourself sick. They are just that good.