japanese (74)
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2017 05 06 18.36.37

Tai Arare: I purchased this snack from Tokyo Fish Market, a Japanese grocery store in Berkeley, hoping the fish-shaped crackers would be seafood flavored, as many Asian snacks are. The Chinese character on the packaging even literally translates to "red snapper" (though I have to admit that I had to use Google Translate to determine that). Despite the name and shape, the crackers are just regular glazed rice crackers – crunchy, sweeter than you would expect, but still with a savory soy aftertaste. A... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 arare tai japanese soy ricecrackers tokyofishmarket
2017 05 08 08.46.22

Kameda Kotsubukko : Bite-sized pieces of chocolate, tins of mint, or take-away cookies never work on me as impulse grocery store purchases. But rice crackers with too-cute packaging positioned directly next to the checkout does the job. This pack of 4 snack-sized bags of sweet and savory soy flavored crackers have a deep savory taste and are portioned larger than most so that a bag is actually filling. But beyond the cute Japanese branding, they aren't particularly distinctive as far as rice crackers go. I ... (read more) 3.0/5.0

tokyofishmarket 3.0 kotsubukko kameda soy japanese
2017 05 06 13.34.15

Riska Mentai Corn Snack: I love that Japanese culture is seemingly contradictory. There is the upmost respect for serenity and simplicity, along with an obsession with quality and workmanship (e.g., tea gardens, sashimi and sushi rice, Yurbai melons) - yet, at the same time, it can be loud, brash, and colorful (e.g., manga, Pachinko). This purple bag of Mentai (cod roe) puffed corn snacks is sensory overload all on its own, with multiple exclamation points, bold lettering, and metallic silver foil highlighting. I... (read more) 4.5/5.0

tokyofishmarket 4.5 snack corn riska junkfood seafood fish roe cod mentai japanese exceptional
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Yoshimi Yakitokibi: Several months ago, I wrote a review of Trader Joe's mochi rice nuggets, a fried savory glutinous rice snack unlike any other mochi I had eaten up to that point. Irregularly shaped, almost like golden nuggets, they were crunchy and dense - the polar opposite of the chewy texture I associate with mochi. Recently, I was gifted a bag of corn-flavored fried mochi crackers, brought back all the way from Japan, where this particular flavor can only be purchased in Hokkaido. The texture and shap... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 yakitokibi yoshimi asian friend crackers mochi hokkaido corn japanese
2017 04 08 13.02.35

Benkyodo Co Mochi: One of the original mochi shops in the US, Benkyodo in Japantown, SF opened back in 1906. Today, the storefront is an odd mix of diner counter, Asian 7-11-type snacks, and fresh made mochi. All of their mochi come in cupcake liners and taste very fresh because they are. The texture is softer than I personally prefer, and there is a little too much starch that coats your mouth with each bite. But I did enjoy that they were not overly sweet. The best was certainly a mango mochi that had f... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 mochi benkyodoco dessert sweets japanese sanfrancisco japantown
2017 04 07 20.23.58

Koreana Plaza Market Mochi: Inside the Koreana Plaza Market in Oakland is a small cash-only bakery with a variety of asian sweets, including lotus-paste-filled pastries (review forthcoming), pineapple buns, and almond cookies. I purchased a pack of two red-bean mochi (despite the oven-fresh sticker on the packaging, I'm pretty sure they were steamed). The mochi are about 125% the size of packaged mochi. Biting into a piece, I could instantly tell that it was very fresh. The glutinous rice flour had a bit more resis... (read more) 3.0/5.0

3.0 mochi koreanaplazamarket japanese dessert sweets oakland