From world-class “omotenashi” hospitality to various convenient services, Japanese convenience stores are praised all around the world. The biggest player in Japan is 7-Eleven which currently boasts over 60,000 in various countries. In May 2018, 7-Eleven announced a popularity ranking of its products by category, commemorating the 11th anniversary of the private brand “Seven Premium.” In each category, the public got to vote for their top three of a selection of more than 3,000 items! This time, we’ll take a look at the “snacks” category to see what Japan loves to nibble on while watching TV or enjoying a drink. Look forward to a cheese-in snack, thick potato chips, and kabuki-age rice crackers!
1st Place – the King of Snacks: Cheese-in Snack Triple Cheese Flavor (108 Yen)
Three Kinds of Cheese Blend into a Tasty Snack Experience!
The Cheese-in Snack Triple Cheese Flavor takes first place and snatches the snack crown! This bite-sized treat is made out of a dough infused with cheddar cheese, camembert, and Emmental cheese. The fragrant aroma is followed by a wonderfully complex combination of cheese flavors, pleasantly melting into one another.
As soon as you open the bag, the delicious aroma fills the air and whets the appetite! A small speck of cheese cream peeps out of the crunchy crust, which is, by the way, also coated in cheese powder. It’s no exaggeration to say that these bite-sized bits are pretty much cheese throughout. And although the flavor is rich and deep, the more you chew, the sweeter it gets! Be careful, though, it’s incredibly hard to stop after the first flavorful bite – addictive in a good way!
This bag of cheese delights is definitely too good to just be wolfed down in the afternoon as a quick bite between lunch and dinner. It deserves to be savored properly, with a nice drink in hand. Especially wine goes well with it and that’s our warmest recommendation. This snack is so amazing, it’s hard to imagine that you can buy it with a single coin.
By the way – this time, the cheese flavor took the crown, but this snack also comes in flavors such as garlic shrimp. Its taste is equally rich, making it a perfect choice to accompany a drink. There’s also a “one coin” pricing system in place, further encouraging you to buy these little delicacies with a drink of your choice. Plenty of Japanese company employees love relaxing that way after work.
2nd Place: Atsugiri Potato Chips Ishigaki Salt Flavor (213 Yen)
Thickly Cut Potato Chips with a Proper Crunch!
Second place goes to the Atsugiri Potato Chips Ishigaki Salt Flavor. Every chip is surprisingly large, immediately catching the eye! It’s a product that emphasizes “natural-origin umami,” using sea salt from the Okinawan island of Ishigaki. The bag is rather large, the perfect size to be shared with friends and family.
The individual potato chip is indeed thickly sliced (which is what “atsugiri” means) and quite big, exuding a sense of quality. The main flavor is salt, of course, but a bit of kelp powder enhances the taste even further. The texture is rather a hearty crunch than a light crisp. With a taste and texture like that, it’s easy to understand why people are in love with these chips – a single bite is incredibly satisfying!
With 147g more than regular potato chips, they might almost be a bit much to eat by yourself. If you need a change of flavor, try topping them with chocolate sauce! That may seem weird, but chocolate-coated potato chips are a staple souvenir in Hokkaido. It’s certainly a novelty combination of flavors, but the chocolate’s sweetness is a wonderful balance to the salt of the potato chips. It’s almost a dessert, so why not try it if you’re craving some sweets after eating a lot of savory snacks?
3rd Place: Hitokuchi Kabuki-Age (108 Yen)
Traditional Rice Cracker Snacks to Flavor Your Evening!
Since ancient times, Japanese people have loved snacking on rice crackers made by grilling cooked rice with various seasonings. They come in various varieties and kabuki-age is one of them. 7-Eleven’s Hitokuchi Kabuki-Age managed to climb to the third place of the snack popularity ranking and there’s probably no one in Japan who doesn’t know them. Indeed, the name kabuki-age means “kabuki roast” and comes from the traditional Japanese theater.
Kabuki dates back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868) and has been one of Japan’s most popular forms of theater ever since. At the same time, rice crackers have been one of the most beloved snacks of the common people, and one ingenious rice cracker shop started to press the crests of kabuki families onto the crackers, selling them at performances. Since then, rice crackers that use similar ingredients and cooking methods are called kabuki-age.
An original blend of sweet soy sauce makes you keep reaching for the bag over and over again. Popping only one in your mouth won’t do, you’ll immediately crave a second serving! The taste is way richer than it looks, thanks to the soy sauce coating. Because they’re smaller than regular kabuki-age rice crackers, they’re perfect as a casual snack with a crunchy bite. The bag is also just the right size to enjoy all by yourself. The crispiness and the small size of the individual crackers make them a tasty treat for everyone, from children to seniors!
Last but not least, we’ll show you a fun recipe for the kabuki-age rice crackers! It’s been showcased on TV and magazines because making fried chicken with these rice crackers as a crust is heavenly delicious. All you need is some chicken tenders (part of the breast), the kabuki-age, egg, and flour. First of all, put all the rice crackers in a plastic bag and break them down into small bits. Add a bit of black pepper for seasoning.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and coat the, with egg, flour, and the kabuki-age bits. You don’t have to season the chicken further, just pop it in the frying pan and wait until they’re golden brown, as shown in the picture. Make sure to keep the heat on low, as the rice crackers burn rather quickly.
Use kitchen paper to soak up extra oil and you’re all set! The characteristic of this easy dish is that the texture of the crust is just like regular fried chicken, but the taste is like Japanese-style fried chicken (called kara-age). That’s because the kabuki-age are made with the same ingredients as Japanese fried chicken, namely soy sauce, and sake. It’s super easy to make, so why not surprise your friends with this delicious snack sometime?
7-Eleven’s Large Selection of Delicious Snacks and Treats!
The cream of the crop of 7-Eleven’s treats is the triple cheese-flavored cheese-in snacks, by far the most popular of all. It’s not only the overall winner, but both men and women crowned it as their absolute favorite. It’s a new product that has just appeared in June 2018, so it’s especially amazing considering how quickly it rose to the top. If you spot it at a 7-Eleven, make sure to pick it up and try it for yourself! Also check the rest of the selection, though, as there are plenty of yummy rice crackers, potato chips, and other treats to be had!
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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