Thursday, December 3, 2009
Daiiti Seika Goma (Sesame) Crunch Candy
One of my labels for posts is the category "grandma's snacks". This is the sort of old-fashioned stuff that I believe is marketed toward the older generation and reviewing such items is always a pain in the ass. The main reason for this is that it requires harder research to find the company that made the product, and often a much harder time reading the names of the companies. You can read Japanese characters in different ways such that even Japanese people read names incorrectly. For instance, I have a student name "Satomi" but her name can be read as "Rimi". In fact, when she was referred to me, the referral agency tole me her name was "Rimi" (and they're Japanese). You know that a language is confusing when even its native speakers can't read the names correctly.
With a little help from my husband (who is pretty good at kanji), I learned that this is made by a company named Daichi Seika, though they romanize the characters as Daiiti on their web site. They make a variety of nut brittle types of candies, but mainly focus on peanuts and sesame seeds. Their product line is limited and not incredibly glamorous, as is often the case with grandma's snacks types of treats.
I picked up this bag of very tiny sesame seed bars (5 cm x 2 cm x .5 cm/2 in. x .8 in. x .2 in.) at a local discount snack shop. It was about 120 yen ($1.34) and there are 24 individually wrapped pieces in the bag. Each candy is 22 calories if my math is correct. The first ingredient is sesame seeds and the second is granulated sugar followed by maltose and peanuts. This covers pretty much all of the flavor in these minuscule bits of sesame brittle.
The first taste is of the sesame and familiar sugary flavor. The sugar aspect is just like what I grew up with eating cheap nut brittle. That is, it has no toffee elements to it because there seems to be no butter. That doesn't mean it's bad at all. On the contrary, the sesame seed flavor is so perfect and rich that I think it's better that the sweetness be very simple. There are also tiny bits of peanut in the little slabs which come out when you come across one. Strangely, these smell just like peanuts despite the small amount of them in the bars.
I would absolutely buy these again. They are well-made, fresh, and have a great taste. I also think they'd make a pretty good souvenir for fussier eaters back home, particularly those who want something a little off the beaten path (sesame brittle instead of peanut). The only issue I have with these is that they are extremely hard to limit your intake of. They really are that good and the tiny size can deceive you into thinking eating a lot at once is OK, but those calories start to add up fast.