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!