Snack At A Glance (SNAAG)
Product Name: YATAINO YAKIMOROKOSHI (Soy Flavored Baked Corn Cracker)
Manufacturer: Calbee, Inc
Genre: Corn Puff, Seasoned, Teriyaki/Soy Flavor
Year of Introduction: 2001-2002
Nutritional Data: 240 calories per 45 gram serving (2 servings per bag). 110 calories from fat, 300 milligrams of Sodium per serving. No Trans Fats.
Primary Seasonings: MSG, Salt, Rice Sugar, Glucose, Powdered Soy Sauce
Most Americans wouldn’t know it, but Calbee is actually one of the largest producers of snack foods in the entire world. Originally incorporated in 1949 in the city of Hiroshima, they first started out with wheat and shrimp crackers, and in the 1970’s they established a strong presence in the United States with potato snacks. Today, they manufacture and import over 25 different types of snacks into the United States, concentrating on Potato-based and other vegetable-based snack products. They also have a significant presence in China and Hong Kong as well. The American-based subsidiary, which is headquartered in Torrance, California, is 100 percent locally-owned and they also use grains that come from the United States.
I’m always impressed with the quality of Calbee snacks. For starters, they don’t have a hell of a lot of ingredients. In this particular corn snack, there’s only 10 ingredients including the seasonings listed above. Calbee also tends to go with simple flavors, relying on the basic properties of the vegetables themselves, not crazy combinations of stuff like a lot of the other Asian food manufacturers tend to go with, and they seem to be a bit more health-conscious, chemical/preservative averse and agri-aware as well.
I really liked this particular snack — the corn puffs, which are similar in consistency and texture to the crunchy-style Cheez Doodles, and have somewhat of a roasted taste, are seasoned with a soy sauce/sugar mixture that replicates the flavor of teriyaki sauce. In Japan, “Yakimorokoshi” is a traditional vendor food at Ennichi street festivals, where corn on the cob is roasted and basted with soy sauce. As I ate the bag, I kept thinking to myself, “damn this stuff would go great with a nice Japanese beer”. While MSG is part of the seasoning blend, it isn’t overpowering like in other snacks of this type. I didn’t feel like I needed to drink a huge glass of water afterwards.