August 19, 2022

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A Guide to Asian Rice Crackers


Have you ever eaten Asian rice crackers? Here’s a information on varied well-liked rice snacks that you will discover in Asian supermarkets. This listing additionally contains data on the place to purchase these Asian rice snacks. Watch the video beneath for a visible information.

Asian rice crackers had been a staple of my childhood. They are gentle, not too greasy, and bursting with umami taste. The vary of Asian rice crackers is huge. The listing beneath is merely the tip of the iceberg, however I attempted to characteristic as huge of a spread as doable for this assessment.

A NOTE ABOUT MSG IN ASIAN RICE CRACKERS

Many of those Asian rice crackers comprise varied seasonings, together with MSG (quick for monosodium glutamate), which supplies the snacks umami taste. MSG is a mixture of sodium and glutamate, an amino acid that naturally exists in meals akin to mushrooms or Parmesan cheese (read this article from U.S. News for more information). Although MSG acquired a foul status for being dangerous to the physique for many years, more moderen analysis has refuted the declare. In truth, the FDA has acknowledged that including MSG to meals is “generally recognized as safe.” You may learn this article from Vice about why MSG is fine to eat.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASIAN RICE CRACKERS

Bin Bin Rice Crackers

BIN BIN RICE CRACKERS (可口賓賓米菓)

These crackers have been certainly one of my favorites since childhood. Wrapped in small packages of two crackers every, the crackers are frivolously coated in powdery seasoning that’s teeming with umami taste. You may style a touch of toasted rice in these crackers. When you chew right into a Bin Bin rice cracker, you’ll detect its gentle and ethereal texture. I don’t suppose some other model has been in a position to grasp the candy and savory stability fairly like Bin Bin rice crackers.

Where to Buy:

Snow Shelly Senbei Rice Cracker

HOT KID SHELLY SENBEI RICE CRACKERS (雪の月)

Slightly bigger than Bin Bin rice crackers, Hot Kid shelly senbei rice crackers additionally are available in small packages of two crackers per bundle. The distinctive characteristic of those crackers is the hardened icing on one facet of the cracker. My reminiscence of the Hot Kid senbei rice cracker is that it’s frivolously seasoned with savory taste, which balances the sweetness of the icing. However, those I’ve bought lately appear to be missing in savory taste. As a matter of truth, I’m not getting a lot taste apart from a touch of toasted rice and the candy icing. I feel it’s best to give them a attempt, however I don’t know if I’ll purchase them typically. 

A NOTE ABOUT SENBEI

Senbei (煎餅) is a kind of Japanese snack fabricated from rice they usually’re often massive and round. Traditionally, they had been seasoned with shoyu (Japanese-style soy sauce) and different seasonings after which toasted or grilled. Nowadays, you will discover senbei flavored with wasabi, Chinese mala spice, and even edamame. 

There is a mode of senbei that is known as yuki no yado (雪の宿), actually snow roof. One facet of the cracker is drizzled with a variety of hardened icing, similar to the Hot Kid shelly senbei rice crackers. I’m inclined to suppose that the Japanese model is the unique one, and the Hot Kid crackers are only a model impressed by yuki no yado.

Where to Buy:

Spicy Senbei

WANT WANT SHELLY SENBEI, SPICY (旺旺雪餅, 辣味)

These spicy senbei crackers look virtually the identical because the senbei crackers above, besides that the previous is coated in an orange layer of seasoning. I desire this model far more because the crackers even have savory taste to stability the sweetness of the icing. Interestingly, the seasoning clings to your tooth barely whenever you chew right into a cracker. Despite the “spicy” label on the packaging, I don’t discover these crackers spicy in any respect. 

Another complicated factor about these crackers is the branding. Although these Want Want crackers share the identical emblem because the Hot Kid crackers above, they’ve completely different English names. Does anybody know what’s the take care of that? 

Where to Buy:

Want Want Rice Crackers

WANT WANT SAVORY RICE CRACKER (旺旺仙貝)

Like the Bin Bin and senbei crackers described above, these oven-baked crackers additionally are available in small packages of two crackers every. However, they’re considerably smaller than the opposite crackers. Each cracker is dusted with a substantial quantity of powdery seasoning that’s savory. They’re fairly scrumptious, although they don’t have the trace of sweetness that I like in Bin Bin rice crackers. Because of their smaller measurement, I feel they’re nice if you wish to eat them with a topping like poké or tapenade, or unfold a dip on high. 

Where to Buy:

Amanoya Himemaru

AMANOYA HIMEMARU (天乃屋姫丸)

Himemaru roughly interprets to “small circle,” they usually often check with a deep fried rice cracker that’s coated in a candy and savory seasoning. What I like about Amanoya’s himemaru is the feel and taste. There are a variety of deep ridges on the floor of the cracker, which makes them crunchy as soon as deep fried. I additionally suppose the ridges entice extra seasoning on the cracker. In phrases of its taste, the himemaru are savory and candy. I may detect a light-weight seaweed taste within the crackers. These himemaru are so good that it’s robust to not eat a whole bag in a single sitting. Note that these crackers comprise bonito extract, so they aren’t vegetarian. 

Where to Buy:

Amanoya Wasabi Himemaru

AMANOYA HIMEMARU, WASABI FLAVOR (天乃屋姫丸, わさび味)

Amanoya additionally makes a wasabi-flavored himemaru. Wasabi is Japanese horseradish that’s typically made right into a paste to be served with sushi or sashimi. Eating wasabi is an expertise. You’ll really feel a slight tingle in your tongue that intensifies instantly. Then, the spicy sensation travels to your nasal passages and you may really feel them flare up. It’s not certainly one of my favourite condiments on this planet, however my husband loves it.

In these explicit crackers, the wasabi taste is combined with the savory flavors of soy sauce. I don’t discover the wasabi to be too intense once I eat one cracker, however the spice builds as I eat a number of extra himemaru. As you possibly can think about, I don’t love the wasabi-flavored himemaru, however my husband will polish off a bag in haste.

Where to Buy:

Want Want Little Rice Crackers

WANT WANT GOLDEN RICE CRACKER (旺旺小小酥)

These rice crackers look quite a bit just like the Amanoya himemaru, besides they’re much smaller. In the photograph beneath, I’ve positioned the Want Want cracker alongside Amanoya’s himemaru as a way to see the distinction in measurement. The crackers have a pleasant crunch however not sufficient taste. When you first pop them into your mouth, you possibly can style some candy and savory seasoning. However, that taste shortly dissipates. This model additionally makes these crackers in a number of different flavors (akin to spicy flavor and spring onion chicken flavor), which I’d prefer to attempt.

Himemaru Size Comparison

Where to Buy:

Himeage Rice Crackers

HIMEAGE (姫揚げ)

This rice cracker is much like Amanoya’s himemaru, besides they’re barely bigger. There is a candy and savory glaze on the crackers they usually’re pleasantly flavorful.

Where to Buy:

I discovered this at my native Japanese market, Oto’s Marketplace. I’ve a sense you’ll have the ability to discover them at different Japanese supermarkets. Unfortunately, I’ve not been capable of finding any hyperlinks on-line, as I can’t appear to search out the model identify of this product.

Sanko Seika Tsukitate Mix

SANKO SEIKA TSUKITATE MIX (三幸製菓つきたてミックス)

This is a seize bag of varied rice crackers which can be candy and savory. The brown items are coated in a soy sauce seasoning that can also be a little bit candy. Some items are encrusted with massive grain sugar that appears like both demerara or turbinado sugar. There’s additionally nori embedded or wrapped round a number of the brown items of crackers. The lighter brown items are seasoned with salt and some different seasonings and are purely savory. 

Where to purchase:

Unfortunately, this explicit bag of rice crackers is tough to search out. I purchased this at Oto’s Marketplace in Sacramento, and you may most likely discover them in different Japanese markets. 

Nori Maki Arare Rice Crackers

NORI MAKI (海苔巻きあられ)

Nori maki interprets to “seaweed roll,” and it typically refers to small baton-shaped seasoned rice crackers which can be wrapped in nori. These crackers have a superb mixture of savory and mildly candy taste. Nori maki is one other certainly one of my childhood favorites. As a matter of truth, I’m sharpening off a bag as I write this submit. If you may have a number of manufacturers of nori maki to select from, go for the bag with crackers which can be darker brown in coloration. They’re probably going to be extra flavorful.

Where to Buy:

(NOTE: Some of the listings beneath lead you to the nori maki made by Shirakiku, which I discover similar to those by J-Basket)

Kaki no Tane Arare (Chili Rice Crackers)

KAKI NO TANE (柿の種)

These mini crackers are known as kaki no tane, “persimmon seed,” as a result of the form of the crackers are presupposed to resemble that of persimmon seeds. Kaki no tane is a kind of arare (あられ), that are small Japanese rice crackers which can be often seasoned with soy sauce. I’m unsure if this distinction is official, however I often consider senbei being bigger rice crackers, whereas arare are smaller. Also, senbei are often fabricated from uruchimai rice (on a regular basis rice) whereas arare are fabricated from mochikome (mochi rice).

Some manufacturers like Hapi name these “chili bits” or “chili snacks” in English as a result of they do additionally seem like chilis. Spice ranges additionally differ between manufacturers. I didn’t discover the crackers by Hapi to be spicy in any respect and I want they’d extra taste.

Uegaki’s kaki no tane is far more flavorful and I may really style the spice within the crackers. They additionally make a model that’s spicier.

Where to Buy Hapi Sweet Chili Snacks (they’re generally packaged as “kaki no tane”):

  • Asian sections of grocery shops
  • Japanese supermarkets (e.g., Oto’s Marketplace)
  • Asian supermarkets (e.g., 99 Ranch, SF Supermarket)
  • Amazon (affiliate hyperlink; offered in bulk)

Where to Buy Uegaki Kaki No Tane:

Are there some other Asian rice crackers I should purchase? Let me know within the feedback!



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