Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Tasting Notes 13
My friend Chiho has sent another box of snacks! This time the emphasis is on crisp-like substances - which in Japan appear to come in rather large bags, even as their sweeter snacks come in rather small ones (by UK standards, anyway). Anyway, once again it is my pleasure and privilege to blog the experience of eating them.

My daughter ably assisted me with the first four. We start off with these cheerful onigiri rice crackers.



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We were immediately arrested by the distinctive soy sauce aroma - which fully translated to the taste. I see from the back that okonomiyaki sauce and white rice flavours are also available, but this was an excellent choice. The things that look as if they might be Garibaldi-style squashed flies are in fact small strips of nori seaweed, I think, to add to the onigiri effect. Anyway, these were insanely moreish, and not a flavour I've encountered in any UK snacks, so a definite win.



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Next, Aerial. These salted corn snacks were not flavoured (other than with salt), but their appeal lay, as the helpful diagrams indicate, in the way their salty surface area has been increased by multiple folds, much like the folding of egg in a Japanese omelette (tamagoyaki). The name no doubt refers rather too the resulting airiness rather than area, but since in Bristol dialect "area" and "aerial" have the same pronunciation I think this a happy conjunction.

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I'm afraid that my daughter and I saw the word チョコ (i.e. chocolate) and just dived in without looking at the rest. It was only when were were about halfway through the bag that we said, "You know, this tastes like chocolate breakfast cereal more than anything else. I wonder what it would be like with milk?" Only at that point did I consult the back of the packet to find the following: "おいしさプラスレシピ 牛乳をかけて食べても冷蔵庫で冷やして。食べてもおいしいよ!" "Extra taste recipe! Pour milk from the refrigerator over it and eat it! It's delicious!" My daughter followed this advice and agreed that it was indeed delicious: the pieces of cereal were large enough to retain some crunch at the centre while being soft at the edges, offering a pleasing complexity of texture. Meanwhile, I was wondering whether breakfast cereal was uncommon enough in Japan to require such detailed instructions about how to pour milk. But then, I reflected, for me it had been necessary.

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This contained snacks in the shape of an edamame (or pea?) pod. In fact, so realistic were they that at first I thought they might be the real thing, deep-fried in some kind tempura-style batter. But no, they were made of green, pea-flavoured snack-stuff all the way through - not a flavour I've ever come across before, and one I think Walkers should definitely consider adding to their portfolio as it's really very good. Like many Japanese snacks, this one has one of the creatures that's about to be eaten - a pea with a Mohican - encouraging humans to gorge themselves - a strange way of behaving, it seems to me: I'm always reminded of the rational cow from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe .

By the way, if you're wondering what "合格祈願" means, it translates as "prayer for school success". If eating pea-shaped snacks doesn't get you into Tokyo University, nothing will!

Shittori? Chocolate? Get outta here!

Those all look really tasty.

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