Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sanko Seika Cheese Kibun Sembei
For a brief time about 5 years ago, my husband and I looked into the whole Atkins diet thing and tried to follow a bit of it. I'm still a bit unclear on the whole carbs thing as there is a lot of mixed information out there. Depending on who you listen to, it'll kill you, prematurely age you, give you diabetes, help you lose weight, or keep you healthy. I don't know what to believe, but I just try not to eat too many refined carbs and eat in a balanced fashion.
Getting back to the whole Atkins thing, one of the things that people on extreme low carb diets used to do was find ways to substitute for the things they couldn't have. In particular, low carb doesn't allow you to eat much in the way of crunchy foods besides pork rinds. One of the more vile concoctions someone came up with (but I never tried) was some sort of "French Toast" made from pork rinds.
Another thing that they did was make "crackers" from cheese slices in the microwave. Since Atkins allowed as much fat as you wanted, but no carbs, cheese was okay. You would take a thin slice of a hard cheese like cheddar, and heat it in the microwave until it became all hard and crispy. You could then eat these lacy, almost burnt bits of cheese like a cracker. Well, that is once you mopped up all of the oil that tended to leak out after doing this.
These cheese kibun sembei remind me a lot of those low carb "cheese crackers". If anything, these aren't quite as good as those because the cheese flavor on this sembei is not as potent. They have a burnt cheese flavor mixed in with the strong sembei flavor. Since these are "hard" sembei, they carry that familiar baked rice flavor that can be off-putting for some people.
On the bright side, there are two 6.5 cm (2.5 in.) crackers in each packet and they're only 38 calories per pair. These aren't the fattiest of sembei and two packets would likely satisfy a salty craving. That being said, I wish that these weren't baked to the point where they tasted nearly burnt. They're like cookies that came out of the oven just a bit too dark so that they're not as much fun to eat as a properly cooked one. The worst part is that this is intentional on the part of the manufacturer as they tout how brown they are and how well-baked they are. It's supposed to be a feature. I'll definitely finish the bag because they're not bad at all, but they just aren't that good.