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Senbei from Niigata, the Top Producer of Rice Crackers in Japan

Do you like Japanese rice crackers, senbei (煎餅)? Sometimes is it also pronounced “sembei”. When my mother-in-law gave me a huge box of them in my first year in Japan, I was stunned. It was obviously expensive and good, but… I couldn’t get the point of eating salty crackers with green tea, not with beer. I mean, senbei is an excellent of Japanese dry confectionery, higashi (干菓子 or 乾菓子). And confectionery is supposed to be sweet, right? Of course, some Japanese rice crackers are covered with sugar, but that’s not the same kind of sweetness provided with, say, chocolate or ice-cream.

There are those flavorful, freshly grilled over charcoal senbei on the way to Daibutsu in Kamakura, or in Nara. The only shortcoming is that they are located way too far. But you can always order senbei from Niigata Prefecture, the Top producer of rice crackers in Japan. Or, if you are lucky, you can receive it as a souvenir from your friends or relatives.Senbei from NiigataSouvenir senbei always come in big, elaborately decorated boxes. This one is not an exception. In Japan, people know better than anywhere else that it is crucial to make a good first impression. An immaculate wrapping is not the only to success. When you unwrap one individual package of 17 you will see 7 different crackers. Each of them is beautiful and scrumptious in its own way.Senbei from NiigataEven the plastic trays and a paper bag are embellished with intricate patters picturing mountains, fields, birds, and flowers. Some of them remind of snow as well.Senbei from NiigataMy senbei was from a specialized shop Zuika in Niigata, but those senbei are also available for purchase at Takashimaya.Senbei from Niigata

Niigata Prefecture is famous for high quality rice, crunchy senbei, and finest sake. So if you are looking forward to a Japanese-style gastronomic adventure, consider visiting there!

Article by Olga Kaneda

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