Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Iwatsuka Kinako Sembei

I've been perusing the sembei aisles with an increasing sense of boredom as of late. Given my hatred of shrimp, I find a lot of the rice crackers that I haven't yet sampled increasingly unappealing. Fortunately, Iwatsuka Seika, the same company that made the smoked potato cheese cracker pellets I reviewed before, put out some kinako sembei and I'm a sucker for all things kinako.

If the fact that these are kinako wasn't appealing enough, being 15 calories per cracker upped the appeal. Unfortunately, being low calorie only helps if you don't feel inclined to gobble down half the 24-piece bag in one sitting. I regained control after 4 pieces, but that was still more than I felt I should be eating at once.

For the umpteenth time, I will remind everyone that kinako is toasted soy flour with a nutty, almost peanut butter-like taste. It's not for everyone, but it's one of the more approachable flavors among various common Japanese seasonings. These smell like kinako, of course, and are generously dusted on the outside with a layer of seasoning that includes cinnamon. There's a hint of sweetness and a vague suggestion of salt.

One negative point about these is that they're rather messy because the seasoning is applied so thickly. The bits of seasoning tend to just fall off as soon as you open the packet. Also, they're wrapped in paper wrappers which I'm sure aren't going to protect them well from going stale. Fortunately, I expect to gobble up the whole bag soon enough so there's little danger that they'll have time to go stale.


Allie, Peeps2 said...

I'm so happy you reviewed these - and liked them! These were my introduction to the wonderful world of kinako (favorites being the kinako kit-kat and Country-Ma'am cookies). After a discussion in class one day with some of my students, in which I admitted that I had no idea what kinako was, she brought me a pack of these senbei. They were awesome, and I shall forever be indebted to fact, I think I'll go get a couple of these right now. :)

Hirayuki said...

I tried these lovely snacks for the first time on a trip to Japan last week and was quickly hooked. I had a hunch that, had you reviewed them, you would have liked them, too--and lo and behold, you did!

I brought one package home with me. I just hope they carry them at my local Japanese store, since these definitely won't last long. It might be time to institute a 3 PM snacktime at our house...

Orchid64 said...

In my experience, they carry these at Nijiya Japanese market, but they're pretty expensive. And I'm all for the 3:00 pm snack time (though I try to stretch mine and wait until 4:00). ;-)