Kaki no Tane

One of the most commonly found and frequently enjoyed of Japanese snacks, kaki no tane 柿の種 rice crackers, thus named due to their crescent shape which resembles persimmon seeds, are not known for having intense flavors or any unusual surprises. A common sight on bar counters, pubs and any number of establishments where alcohol is served, kaki no tane in its standard form is just about as exciting as pretzels. Nice to have when you need it, something to munch on, but never in the spotlight...

Even before the current trend in intensely flavored foods, attempts were made to make the humble kaki no tane more sexy, adding wasabi flavor or mild pepper flavor, for example, but nothing more radical than that. Still, with maybe a few exceptions, the kaki no tane has kept a low profile in recent years, with all the spotlight on potato and corn chips dressed up in all kinds of wild and unlikely flavors.

When opposites attract

In 2017, the Sriracha sauce boom finally reached Japanese shores and tongue-numbing Sichuan pepper, already embraced for many years by the Chinese cuisine and ramen-loving community here in Japan, began to appear as a popular seasoning in snack foods.

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the mild-mannered kaki no tane and the wild "flower pepper" (or huā jiāo 花椒, as she is known in Chinese) should hook up.

GEKI Shibi-Kara Rayu Flavor Kaki no Tane

Leave it to Kameda Seika, the world leader in kaki no tane manufacture, to make the match.

Kameda no Kaki no Tane GEKI Shibi-Kara Rayu Aji 亀田の柿の種 激シビ辛ラー油味.

Literally translated, their creation is called "Kameda's Kaki no Tane SUPER Numbing and Spicy Chili Oil Flavor."

According to their press release, the snack is coated in a specially concentrated rayu 辣油 chili oil blended with fragrant but tongue-numbing sichuan pepper extract and paired with cashew nuts (in lieu of the more commonplace peanut). Those who enjoy intense flavors will be glad to know it is 10 times as spicy as their milder version, sans GEKI in the name, also scheduled to go on sale at the same time.

This wild child will be available for a limited period in Japanese convenience stores from February 18th to the middle of April and will set you back around 138 JPY (reference retail price).

By - Ben K.