Japan’s Crack Snacks

We call them “crack” snacks, because they’re so good that they’re addictive. And you’ll find yourself plotting ways of hiding the half a bag that’s left from your spouse and kids because you want them all for yourself.

In short, they bring out the worst in you. But man, are they tasty.


Some crack snacks I bought yesterday that my wife has already gotten into


Why is it that the Japanese make snacks that are so much better than our snacks? I don’t know. They’re sometimes salty and sometimes kinda sweet and sometimes both at once. Sometimes they have a little MSG in them, which unless you’re allergic to you can live with.

I first encountered these rice cracker snacks when I was in Tokyo. I went into a convenience store and bought a whole bunch of bags of them to bring home. I didn’t know what any were, since I can’t read Japanese. Some had strange things in them like busted up little crabs or powdered squid. (You can usually avoid those kinds if you want to because they’ll have little pictures of crabs or squids on them … I realized later). Some are spicy with chili, others made with sweet nori seaweed.

How do you know which ones to get? You don’t. Just get the ones that look best to you. And where do you get them? I get mine at the Japanese markets here in Los Angeles — the Nijiya Market on Sawtelle or in Little Tokyo, and the Mitsuwa Market on Venice and Centinela. If you’re in a city you can find them in your own Japanese market. Otherwise, have fun online at asianfoodgrocer.com (look under “Pocky, Snacks & Candy” and click “Rice Crackers”).

In the meantime, come Japanese snack shopping with me: