Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sanko Seika Camembert Sembei

Like all people who review things in their blogs, I often find that  my ratings system has shortcomings. The main shortcoming is with the "indifferent" rating because it means that I will eat what I have, but I won't buy that product again. I'm concerned that that will make people think that I don't actually enjoy products with such a rating. I want to say that that is not true. I can enjoy something, but not want to have it again because the threshold for buying it again isn't quite cleared. Note that this is a bigger issue for me as a reviewer than for the average person. I'm always trying to slot new things into my daily consumption and something has to be pretty freaking good to be bought again.

This Camembert cheese sembei falls into the category of "things I enjoyed, but wouldn't buy again." It's not that it wasn't adequately tasty. For the most part, it was. The problem was that it was just "good",  not "very good", or "makes-me-want-to run-out-and-stock-up-before-it-goes-off-the-shelves good".

There are two types of sembei in each little single serving bag (99 calories per bag). One is a little ball with red flecks which is supposed to be black-pepper-shrimp-flavored, but just tasted weirdly sweet and rather smoky to me. The rods are the part with Camembert cheese. The bag claims they are 10% cheese, but it's still relatively subtle because Camembert is a mild cheese. It's pleasantly salty and cheesy, but you taste the cheese better if you don't eat the little shrimp balls. The two together make for an interesting mix but the balls are too sweet on their own. I think the little Camembert rods would be good on their own.

I think that I would have given these a better rating had I reviewed them in the early days of my blog. I think these are nice enough, but the competition for my snack affection is pretty intense and these don't make the cut. If you're interested in sampling them (and I think they are worth a try if you like crunchy sembei with a bit of cheese flavor), they're available for about 170 yen ($1.82) for six 23-gram (.8 oz.) bags at Okashi no Machioka snack shops and a variety of supermarkets.

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