It’s Not Easy Being Green

My wife recently asked me to pick up some wasabi peas for her. Or more precisely, she said, “Put wasabi peas on your list.”

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

My list, of course, is the running grocery list I have going at all times. It’s a square post-it note that sits on my desk and which everyone knows not to touch lest the provisions and dining schedule be thrown into chaos. My list will usually have several categories: “Japanese market,” “TJs” (Trader Joe’s), “Grocery” (general), “Sprouts,” and sometimes the odd addition such as “Persian market” or “99 Ranch”. Lacking specificity, I put my wife’s request under “TJs”. More

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Snack Attack

My name is Sean, and I’m a snackoholic.

There, I got it off my chest. And I feel much better.

My wife and kids would say, “Oh yeah… like that’s news.”

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I notice I most often snack when I am either bored or procrastinating, which is how I know I have a problem. Also, I eat small meal portions, so I wind up hungry between meals. Fortunately I’m not one of those people who eats a gallon of ice cream or family-size bag of chips when I’m depressed. I don’t eat anything when I’m depressed. Which might counterbalance my snacking habit, were it not that I’m hardly ever depressed. More

My Habit

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I have a relatively new habit: Macadamia nuts.

I’ve always loved these salty, buttery treats. But in the past limited my consumption to trips to Hawaii, or to the one or two canisters I would bring home from one of those visits — those usually saved for cooking. But I’m a snacker, and looking for a healthier alternative to salty potato chips, I thought I’d purchase a bag of the Australian dry roasted macs at Trader Joes. Surely the $8+ price tag would keep me from developing a habit, I thought. More

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: