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Japanese foods-- Okashi


torakris
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Hi All :smile:

I have a question about sembei... I'm sansei, born and raised in Brazil, and when I was a kid my grandparents used to buy lots of a thin dry delicious cookie that looked like this:

gallery_24933_3174_4259.jpg

They were sweet, the taste was like ginger cookies and my japanese grandparents called them sembei. For years, my idea of sembei was of those sweet thin cookies. Those were the only sembei we used to have.

However, later in my life, reading the description of sembei I've learned that they are actually rice crackers, usually savoury but sometimes they can be sweet, shinny sugar-coated. The description doesn't really match with the "sembei" my grandparents used to give me...

So... those sweet thin cookies I used to have are not sembei? :huh:

TIA for any light anyone could shed on my confusing mind...

Marcia

Edited by Marcia (log)
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They are sembei, but of a particular type. I think the sweetish ginger ones might be found in different parts of Japan, but the plain or salty/sesame ones seem to be more common in northern Japan. My Hokkaido-born husband likes these, and thinks that his Akita-born mother probably introduced them.

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They are sembei, but of a particular type. I think the sweetish ginger ones might be found in different parts of Japan, but the plain or salty/sesame ones seem to be more common in northern Japan. My Hokkaido-born husband likes these, and thinks that his Akita-born mother probably introduced them.

Hi Helen,

Thanks for your reply, it's a relief to know it's still sembei. Could you please tell me how those sweet-ish ginger-ish sembei are called in Japan? We're going to Tokyo in few weeks time (my first time in Japan ever) and I'd love to buy some of them.

:smile:

Marcia

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They are sembei, but of a particular type. I think the sweetish ginger ones might be found in different parts of Japan, but the plain or salty/sesame ones seem to be more common in northern Japan. My Hokkaido-born husband likes these, and thinks that his Akita-born mother probably introduced them.

Hi Helen,

Thanks for your reply, it's a relief to know it's still sembei. Could you please tell me how those sweet-ish ginger-ish sembei are called in Japan? We're going to Tokyo in few weeks time (my first time in Japan ever) and I'd love to buy some of them.

:smile:

Marcia

I'm not familiar with those sweet ginger ones, but I think they are basically called "nanbu sembei" (南部煎餅), a specialty of the northen part of the mainland of Japan such as Iwate and Aomori prefectures.

They are simply called shouga sembei (shouga = ginger).

http://www.sibukawa.com/otamehiset.htm

Scroll down and look at the seventh photo in the table. That's a shouga sembei.

But, be sure to specify that you want "nanbu" shouga sembei, because when we hear "shouga sembei", we usually associate it with this type of sembei:

http://www.deliviking.com/10051/10100/10309/index.html

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Hiroyuki, domo arigato gozaimasu for the explanation and also for the name in kanji. I wrote it down and I'll try to find them here in Taiwan too. I think I've tried the "shouga sembei" you showed me, i like them a lot too. Are all "shouga sembei" sweet or do I need to order "amai (nanbu) shouga sembei"?

Just as a matter of interest, here are some pictures of sembei you can find in Brazil:

This one it's the most popular, simply called "sembei", sometimes it has black seasame seeds in it:

gallery_24933_3174_44059.jpg

This one is "shoga sembei" coated with sugar and ginger:

gallery_24933_3174_9062.jpg

I must say that this particular brand is horrible, the cookies are hard as hell and make you wonder if they are good enough to build a roof in your house. I can't even believe that they show those broken shoga sembei on their website!! It's possible to find very nice and crispy sembei in Sao Paulo, where I am from and where the biggest japanese comunity lives. But still I'd like to try the real thing, the original japanese ones, the ones my grandparents once tried.

Just to keep it on topic, sembei are my favourite okashi, specially with some ocha to drink with, watching a good movie. Pocky is very close together. :raz:

Marcia

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Hiroyuki, domo arigato gozaimasu for the explanation and also for the name in kanji. I wrote it down and I'll try to find them here in Taiwan too. I think I've tried the "shouga sembei" you showed me, i like them a lot too. Are all "shouga sembei" sweet or do I need to order "amai (nanbu) shouga sembei"?

Just as a matter of interest, here are some pictures of sembei you can find in Brazil:

This one it's the most popular, simply called "sembei", sometimes it has black seasame seeds in it:

gallery_24933_3174_44059.jpg

This one is "shoga sembei" coated with sugar and ginger:

gallery_24933_3174_9062.jpg

I must say that this particular brand is horrible, the cookies are hard as hell and make you wonder if they are good enough to build a roof in your house. I can't even believe that they show those broken shoga sembei on their website!! It's possible to find very nice and crispy sembei in Sao Paulo, where I am from and where the biggest japanese comunity lives. But still I'd like to try the real thing, the original japanese ones, the ones my grandparents once tried.

Just to keep it on topic, sembei are my favourite okashi, specially with some ocha to drink with, watching a good movie. Pocky is very close together.  :raz:

Marcia

I'm not 100% sure, but I think all shouga sembei are sweet. I'll notify you if I find non-sweet shouga sembei.

Your photos are truly intriguing! All sembei in your country are made from wheat flour, not non-glutinous rice (uruchi mai)? In Japan, when we say "sembei", we usually mean non-glutinous rice crackers. We also have arare and okaki, which are made from glutinous rice (mochi gome).

Oh, one more think: The shouga sembei in Japan (I mean the ones shown in my second link) are also hard, probably as hard as the ones you showed.

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Your photos are truly intriguing!  All sembei in your country are made from wheat flour, not non-glutinous rice (uruchi mai)?  In Japan, when we say "sembei", we usually mean non-glutinous rice crackers.  We also have arare and okaki, which are made from glutinous rice (mochi gome).

Oh, one more think:  The shouga sembei in Japan (I mean the ones shown in my second link) are also hard, probably as hard as the ones you showed.

Hiroyuki, we have arare, okaki and also the proper rice crackers sembei, most of them imported from Japan. But seems like the wheat flour biscuits are more popular and there're lots of small producers of that kind. They are always called "sembei" there, so that's the only "sembei" most of us know. The non-glutinous rice crackers are called simple "rice crackers", "moti crackers" or "japanese snacks", something generic like that. I think that's why I was so confused and I wasn't sure anymore if the sweet variety could be called sembei.

On the brazilian "sembei" pack it says "bolacha doce tipo biju" which means something like "wafer-type sweet biscuits", because that's how that sweet sembei is supposed to resemble in Brazil: like a crisp, sweet, thin biscuits that is often used to decorate ice-creams. Does it make sense...?

---

Oh, after reading this thread we rushed to buy Pocky Almond Crush and two packs of Hi-Chew (Strawberry yoghurt and Peach yoghurt flavour). Hmmm!!

Marcia

Edited by Marcia (log)
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I finally got around to taking photos of two of my favoriates.

Alfort (sp?) and branchure (sp?) of Bourbon

Package (special package containing both):

gallery_16375_5_111929.jpg

Alfort (left): A combination of chocolate and whole-grain buiscuit

Branchure (right): White chocolate sandwiched by langue de chat cookies

gallery_16375_5_53016.jpg

They are both quite good considering the prices. I highly recommend them!

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I tried the new Cheese Pretz & Fruit Pretz not long ago. The cheese is ok, but I prefer a stronger flavour. I wish they made Pizza Pretz with just the gouda flavour! I believe there's more wheat in the biscuits than regular Pretz - they seem to be crispier than regular Pretz.

The ingredients label of Fruit Pretz lists apple juice, fig paste, and raisin (paste?). I couldn't taste any fig or raisin flavour, so it basically tasted like a wheatier Apple Pretz (which is discontinued?). I missed Apple Pretz when it disappeared, so Fruit Pretz is great!

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I finally got around to taking photos of two of my favoriates.

Alfort (sp?) and branchure (sp?) of Bourbon

Package (special package containing both):

gallery_16375_5_111929.jpg

Alfort (left):  A combination of chocolate and whole-grain buiscuit

Branchure (right):  White chocolate sandwiched by langue de chat cookies

gallery_16375_5_53016.jpg

They are both quite good considering the prices.  I highly recommend them!

The one on the right looks similar to something I tried which I think was from Hokkaido. It was called 雪の恋人。 Have you tried it? It was really good - nice light texture and flavour.

I think I tried a Korean version of the one on the left too, which was pretty good. Korean companies seem to make a lot of their own versions of Japanese snacks which are a pretty good option in Australia because they're usually one third of the price!

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The one on the right looks similar to something I tried which I think was from Hokkaido. It was called 雪の恋人。 Have you tried it? It was really good - nice light texture and flavour.

I think I tried a Korean version of the one on the left too, which was pretty good. Korean companies seem to make a lot of their own versions of Japanese snacks which are a pretty good option in Australia because they're usually one third of the price!

I think you mean 白い恋人

http://www.shiroikoibito.ishiya.co.jp/,

not 雪の恋人

http://palmyamcha.hkisl.net/archives/000218.html

This blogger says that 雪の恋人 is a copy of 白い恋人 and it's made in Hong Kong. :biggrin:

And, yes. I have had 白い恋人 many times. It's a very popular gift, and I've never bought it myself. I like 白い恋人, but I like branchure even more because it's so cheap. The package I showed in my previous post, which contains 12 branchures and 12 alforts, is only 298 yen!

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The one on the right looks similar to something I tried which I think was from Hokkaido. It was called 雪の恋人。 Have you tried it? It was really good - nice light texture and flavour.

I think I tried a Korean version of the one on the left too, which was pretty good. Korean companies seem to make a lot of their own versions of Japanese snacks which are a pretty good option in Australia because they're usually one third of the price!

I think you mean 白い恋人

http://www.shiroikoibito.ishiya.co.jp/,

not 雪の恋人

http://palmyamcha.hkisl.net/archives/000218.html

This blogger says that 雪の恋人 is a copy of 白い恋人 and it's made in Hong Kong. :biggrin:

And, yes. I have had 白い恋人 many times. It's a very popular gift, and I've never bought it myself. I like 白い恋人, but I like branchure even more because it's so cheap. The package I showed in my previous post, which contains 12 branchures and 12 alforts, is only 298 yen!

That's the one. I couldn't remember exactly what it was called, so I just googled it and found yuki no koibito and thought that must've been it.

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when I first came here I was addicted to these chocolate  covered almonds.

My current favorite snack (if it can be called a snack) are Hi-chu (chew?) these are sort of like starburst but 100 times better, my favorite flavor is sakuranbo (Japanese cherry)

I love anything ume flavored or sour, like vinegared konbu.

I used to live off those chocolate covered almonds. I also like the Hi-chu. Pomegranate is all the rage right now.

My favorite is the spicy rice crackers shaped like boomerangs. Mmmmm. I am also a big fan of shrimp chips.

She came, she saw. She ate, she blogged.

www.maryeats.com

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My uncle returned from Japan with a couple boxes of that - it's sooo good! The cookies are so light :wub: I love the packaging - I wish North Americans would put more effort into their packaging :hmmm:

--packaging of cookies, cakes, etcetera is a subject of contention in my family :biggrin: I love it too and tend to purchase many omiyage-style treats based on packaging alone. However for my Mom and husband, it drives them insane. My mom will go into a non-stop rant about how ridiculous it is to wrap 1X1" pieces of katsutera in beautifully decorated plastic wrap. She's become quite the anti-waste, recycle queen of the neighborhood. Hubby on the other hand comes from a big family of fierce, manly eaters so "gobble-quick-before-gone" doesn't go in harmony with small portions much less one you have to carefully unwrap. I will post pics of my recent purchases later today...

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Here's the nicely packaged matcha katsutera in my husband's hands...

gallery_47882_3529_17060.jpg

When he tried to open one on his own, he crushed the cake :blink: poor guy. So from then on, I offered to open the packages for him... nice guy, but not very patient when he wants a taste of a new sweet...

gallery_47882_3529_37956.jpg

Here are some Kyoto omiyage sweets I ordered more for packaging than for content [Kitty geek that I am]. Don't get me wrong, they are quite delicious and delicate, but not what I would call earth-shattering.

gallery_47882_3529_31780.jpg

...a very buttery sugar cookie depicting Megumi-style Kittychan...

gallery_47882_3529_20600.jpg

..."gaufrette" filled with matcha-flavored cream. The can illustrations depict the Daimonji and the usual regional landmarks.

Edited by Cheeko (log)
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Thanks for all of your photos. Anyone can now clearly see how "Kitty-geeky" you are. :biggrin:

Seriously, the custom of excess packaging is deep-rooted in Japan. There are two type of excess packaging, pre-sale and post-sale. As for the latter, I think we are going in the right direction - simple packaging. As for the former, things are rather complicated. Many confections require individual packaging for sanitation and oxidization prevention, and like many Japanese, I opt for individually packaged confections if I'm expecting a guest, just to show courtesy to the guest. But all in all, there is one BIG problem: The Japanese are overly obsessive about sanitation!

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My daughter's birthday is in September, and we made her birthday cake today (Sunday). We used canned cherries and strawberry-and-milk-flavored "Kinoko no Yama" as toppings. Strawberries aren't available in September :sad::sad: .

gallery_16375_5_20571.jpg

As usual, my two children did almost all the decoration. They really enjoyed making it, and the result is satisfying,... and delicious! :biggrin: (and cheaper too. :biggrin: )

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My daughter's birthday is in September, and we made her birthday cake today (Sunday).  We used canned cherries and strawberry-and-milk-flavored "Kinoko no Yama" as toppings.  Strawberries aren't available in September :sad:  :sad: .

gallery_16375_5_20571.jpg

As usual, my two children did almost all the decoration.  They really enjoyed making it, and the result is satisfying,... and delicious! :biggrin:  (and cheaper too. :biggrin: )

Hiroyuki, that is beautiful!

Mia (10) just walked by and said "食べたい" (tabetai) or "I want to eat that". :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My daughter's birthday is in September, and we made her birthday cake today (Sunday).  We used canned cherries and strawberry-and-milk-flavored "Kinoko no Yama" as toppings.  Strawberries aren't available in September :sad:  :sad: .

gallery_16375_5_20571.jpg

As usual, my two children did almost all the decoration.  They really enjoyed making it, and the result is satisfying,... and delicious! :biggrin:  (and cheaper too. :biggrin: )

That is so cute!! :wub:

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Don't know if this has come up already, but has anyone tried the new "Adult" Doritos?  Black pepper and salt, and black in colour.  I like them!  I'd post a pic, but I seem to have forgotten my cell phone at home.  Oops!

Since you mentioned this I have been looking for these everywhere and can't find them!! Are they over??

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Found this treat at the 7 & IHoldings today:

gallery_37846_3569_44248.jpg

Yuzu-shichimi flavoured potato chips!  Yum!

[edit corrected URL]

I saw these at a convenience store the other day and was going to try them but ended up going for a Dr. Pepper instead. :biggrin: It was a really muggy day and I had been riding my bike around and the pop just hit the spot better...

How are they?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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