Saturday, 9 November 2013

Japanese snack selection

I had a lovely surprise today when a small parcel arrived from a good friend who lives in Japan. It was filled with three different kinds of Japanese treats and I wanted to share my thoughts on them here. On a side note, during my stay in France, I missed Japanese food the most. It was possible to get most kinds of English food in France (other than crumpets and Marmite of course) because I would say most foods are available europe-wide.  Japanese snacks on the other hand, were unsurprisingly near impossible to find. As a result I missed Japan more as a country than I did England. Coming back from my visit to Japan over the summer has been difficult because I miss, not only my family and friends over there, but the food that is so far removed from what I have here. Anyway, this made me feel at home again...

 The ki-na-ko mochi chocolate  Mochi has made its way to England in most chinese supermarkets and my friends all love the gooey-ness of glutinous rice flour dumplings and their tasty fillings. Of course, Japan has come up with the miniature  chocolate equivalent and I salute them for it. The outer shell of chocolate is flavoured with kinako powder, a roasted soybean powder that is often eaten as a dessert with mochi. It isn't very sweet which is evident in the mildness of the chocolate shell. Although mildness allows the kinako taste to come through better, my English taste-buds tell me that the flavour could be stronger regardless. There is a "mochi" centre instead of the generic praline or creamy truffle which makes this special. The mochi could be a little more elastic as it is actually more of a flavourless stiff jelly but overall, it is something different and fun to try. Tastes pretty good too.

Toppo  I was so excited to see this in the packet, Pocky is one of my all time favourite Japanese snacks and Toppo is Pocky's inverse twin. I practically grew up on Pocky, always buying a box to share with my brother from the Lawson store around the corner as a treat. It always brings back memories.
The Toppo sticks come wrapped in two packets so you don't have to eat them all at once. Not that it stopped me. I should warn you, these are every bit as addictive as Pocky.
 I still prefer Pocky as the Toppo biscuit has less of a bite to it and the chocolate less flavour. I wish there was more variety in the English alternative to Pocky, Mikado. As far as I can see, Mikado doesn't make my favourite Pocky flavour, a thick coating of dark chocolate with crushed hazelnuts or almonds. I live in hope.

Pumpkin flavour crisps- the final packet in the box and by far my favourite. They are similar to English Quavers with a much closer consistency, less air and oh my days were these good. The pumpkin flavour added a sweetness that balanced perfectly with the saltiness you find with crisps. All I can say is, the person who invented mixing sweet and salty was a genius who should have their own national holiday. Sweet and Salty day. In fact, everyday should be Sweet and Salty Day.
It is a shame that these crisps are probably seasonal for Autumn. If I had the power to make any flavouring of crisp I wanted, I would definitely mix the same consistency of these crisps with sweet potato flavouring and salt. Perhaps there is something already out there like that. Judging by these crisps, if there were I would cross oceans to eat them without hesitation.

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