“Senbei” (Rice Cracker)  – The Best Snack To Pair with Alcohol - JAPAN CRAZE Magazine vol.13 -

It will soon be October, and Japan is now in its autumn-like season.

In your country, the four seasons may not be as distinctive as in Japan, but if you live in a region that has an autumn season, you probably have some autumnal customs, such as "Autumn is the season of xx".

Autumn in the U.S. and Canada means autumn leaves, pumpkins, Thanksgiving, and the kids’ favorite — Halloween. Depending on the region, it suddenly gets chilly and the weather tends to be cloudy. Foggy and dreary weather makes for a scene that suits the spooky atmosphere of Halloween!

Various types of pumpkins and squash are on display, and perhaps the most popular Thanksgiving tradition is to bake a turkey and eat a pumpkin pie.

In France, the whole town is said to change to autumnal colors. This is the season when the trees begin to change colors and the stores in town are decorated with warm colors such as yellow and orange. It is also the season of rain, and the chilly, dreary skies that linger can be said to be typical French autumn. Autumn is also the season of grapes, and going out to pick grapes and enjoy wine at wineries seems to be a unique way to spend autumn in France.

Autumn is said to be cool in China and Taiwan. It is also the season for moon viewing. The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in a grand way, and families get together to enjoy mooncakes. Mooncakes are round-shaped steamed buns resembling the moon with red bean paste or egg yolk inside.

For the first time in three years, autumn festivals and events are being held in Japan, and people are gradually getting out of the city to enjoy themselves. After nearly three years of suffering since Corona, people have learned how to enjoy themselves at home. It has become the norm to spend time at home, having drinks and meals at home when there is even the slightest anxiety about going out. And what we would like to recommend this time is the “Senbei” — rice crackers. Have you ever eaten Japanese rice crackers?

rice crackers sold in stores
Rice crackers as a snack for drinking at home

According to an Internet search on “Senbei trend," the consumption of senbei (rice crackers) has greatly expanded in Japan due to the demand for Cocooning consumption caused by the Corona disaster.

rice cracker dataSource:Diamond Chain Stores

As people spend more time at home, more people are choosing to buy rice crackers and snacks to pair with their drinks at home. The style of buying them at the supermarket or online and eating them at home is becoming more common.

Above all, senbei is a good food for when one is hungry, as it is very filling. Therefore, demand for rice crackers tends to increase when the economy is in recession, and fried rice crackers, which are particularly satisfying to eat, are said to be the most popular.

So we were also curious about foreigners' reactions to rice crackers, so we asked j-Grab's foreign staff about their preference for rice crackers.

As for the flavors of rice crackers, many people liked soy sauce flavor as well as sweet rice crackers with sugar or sweet and salty rice crackers, and many people liked the sweet taste.

As for the texture, we also noticed that many people prefer a light texture that is crispy and crumbles in the mouth as soon as it is chewed.

The traditional Japanese hard-baked rice cracker is also famous, but a softer version with the
opposite texture of hard-baked rice crackers called "nure-senbei" has also been persistently popular.

rice cookie
To a foreigner, arare, kakimochi (okaki), and senbei (beika) look the same, but there is a difference between them. The first difference is the raw materials.

Arare, kakimochi, and okaki are made from sticky glutinous rice, while senbei is made from less sticky Uruchi rice. The terminology should be different depending on the size and each region.

Arare is a term that spread mainly in the Kanto region, while okaki is a term that spread mainly in the Kansai region.
Kakimochi and okaki are the same things, but kakimochi are generally larger than 5 cm, while okaki are smaller.

rice cookie shopWhen you dig deeper, you will realize how many varieties there are. On your next visit to Japan, be sure to try and compare different types of rice crackers!

JAPAN CRAZE Store Manager
Naoko Saito
Japan craze magazine