Friday, February 13, 2015

Kameda Crisps

Snacks.  I love snacks.  I munch on things all day, and I'm always excited to try products other than classic chips and pretzels, so I was thrilled to discover Kameda Crisps.

Kameda Crisps come from a Japanese company, Kameda Seika Co, the largest rice cracker manufacturer in Japan.  There, they are sold under the name Kakinotane.  In the US, they sell two varieties of rice based snacks: savory rice snacks and a frosted sweet variety.  I know I tried the sweet variety, but lost my notes on them.  Doh!

The savory ones come in a few flavors including wasabi, bbq, black pepper, and sweet chili.  They come either as just the rice snacks, or mixed with roasted peanuts.  I've tried several flavors, and found them all to be quite snackable.  That's a word, right?

Since they are riced based, they are gluten-free, and also boast all the other buzzwords you may care about: non-GMO, no MSG, no trans fats, etc.  Oh, and did I mention, they are baked, not fried?
Sweet Chili Kameda Crisps.
"These light, crispy rice crackers have a savory flavor, with just a hint of sweetness. Enjoy the surprisingly delicious and tangy taste of sweet chili with every bite. Fresh roasted peanuts make each serving hearty and satisfying."

Given the name "sweet chili", I expected these to taste like ... well, sweet chili, in particular, sweet chili sauce, as I enjoyed so often with my wedges in Australia.  A bit of sweetness, a hint of spice.  I really didn't taste anything sweet chili about these.

They tasted like soy sauce, with a hint of chili.  Which, once I read the ingredients, I saw is exactly what they were (ok, they were made with tamari, not soy, because, gluten-free).  They also had mushroom extract and seaweed extract in them, a bit unexpected.

So, once my expectations were re-aligned, I enjoyed them, but they weren't quite what I wanted.  The rice crisps had a perfect crunch to them, and the peanuts were quite simple roasted nuts, but a good nutty contrast.

With this mix, and all the other flavors I tried, I enjoyed the mix, but wanted there to be more than just two components.  I made my own snack mixes with them, adding in corn nuts, wasabi peas, and other types of rice crackers, and then enjoyed them much more.  Just a bit too simple for me.
Wasabi with Roasted Peanuts.
"These light, crispy rice crackers have a savory flavor and a big kick of wasabi with every bite. Fresh roasted peanuts make each serving hearty and satisfying."

Next I decided to kick it up a notch, to the wasabi flavor.  The package said "Big Kick", and they weren't joking!

The mix was mostly the same, just rice crackers, with a few peanuts thrown in.  All crunchy and satisfying to munch on.  But the wasabi flavor ... wow!  Yes, it had a big kick.

I enjoyed this quite a bit, although perhaps there was just a tad bit too much wasabi for me.

Interestingly, the second bag of these I tried was far less wasabi flavored.  Not really sure why they were so dramatically different, but I could barely taste the wasabi in that batch.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks: one was too much, one was too little, and I wanted something right in the middle to be just right.

Definitely my favorite of the flavors I tried, although I'd love to try the BBQ sometime too.
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