All About Japan

Better Know Your Old-School Senbei!

| Food & Drink , Sweets

Senbei are rice crackers that were introduced to Japan from China around the Asuka Period (592-710). But do you know your three key old-Tokyo senbei flavors? Founded in Tokyo in 1804, the venerable Matsuzaki Senbei offers us a crash course!

1. Arare Senbei

Arare senbei are a type of rice cracker made of glutinous rice, flavored with soy sauce and often decorated with seaweed. They come in various shapes and flavors, though they're usually either sweet or salty.

The arare senbei from Matsuzaki Senbei are known to be very crunchy and full of flavor. They can be served with green tea or just eaten as a snack instead of chips!

2. Soka Senbei

Soka senbei are a very traditional type of round rice cracker made of rice flour and flavored with soy sauce. These soka senbei from Matsuzaki Senbei are crunchy, but not so thick and hard. The flavors range from salty to slightly spicy.

3. Kawara Senbei

Kawara senbei are Japanese crackers made of wheat and shaped like tiles. They're decorated with motifs of the four seasons and thus change throughout the year. These kawara senbei are crunchy but easy to bite, and have a sweet flavor.

4. Oedo Mixed Senbei Set

Can't decide? The Oedo Mixed Senbei Set includes the major types of traditional crackers typical of the old city of Tokyo (Edo). The variety of arare senbei, soka senbei and kawara senbei covers a wide range of shapes, flavors and crunchiness. The set is available in two sizes, with 14 or 27 pieces.