Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kameida Seika Barbecue Sembei

Any time I get in the mood for some new and interesting sembei, I head down to the local Family Mart. If you're in Japan and want to have the best access to short-lived, but tasty sembei, that's your "go to" place. By the way, that's, a statement I never thought I'd be making in my life as I never thought one got in the mood for sembei if one was not raised in Japan or by parents of Japanese decent. Ah, how my horizons have broadened due to this blog.

"Piri" (ピリ) in Japanese means spicy in a heat-related way, as opposed to spicy in a non-hot way. Putting these two characters on a bag of any salted snack treat greatly increases the likelihood that I'll buy the food, and they're on this bag of rice crackers. Of course, the maker of these crackers, Kameida Seika, is also my favorite when it comes to sembei.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, "barbecue" flavor in Japan means barbecued meat or vegetables cooked on a grill so it's not like what it is in the States (a sort of ketchup or tomato flavor which is similar to sauce rather than the grilled foods). These sembei, which are about 32 calories per large cracker, are an extremely satisfying melange of savory flavors including garlic, onion, chicken, paprika, pepper, and tomato. They have a small bit of heat, but nothing too strong. I don't know if they'd do for a chili wuss, but they also don't require a flame-retardant stomach or an asbestos-coated tongue. The texture is the "soft" type which is crispy and puffier rather than the "hard" type which is thin, brittle and potato-chip-like.

I loved these, and I think it's unfortunate that they aren't likely to be around past the end of autumn as they have a 4-month run (and were introduced in August). I highly recommend getting them while you can. Remember, they are only sold at convenience stores!


Anonymous said...

haha Flame retardant stomach.. still rolling on the floor...

Sharon said...

Ahh, flame retardant stomach. I've tried a recipe that requires as asbestos lined throat and a flame retardant stomach. It's a meat chili called Fizban's Fireball Chili, and you can find the recipe on the internet. The recipe comes from a book titled “Lost Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home”, and is a collection of recipes from books based on the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game.

A friend of mine made it for someone we know who insisted there was no chili so hot he couldn't eat it without begging for mercy...or a huge glass of milk to help kill the fire. He drank half a gallon of milk.

I refused to try it straight, as just smelling it cleaned out my sinuses and made my eyes water a bit. I did find that a very small amount of it on a hot dog made them taste pretty good, though.

Orchid64 said...

Mmmm. Super hot chili. I'd probably give it a try, even if it first cleared my sinuses!