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Senbei are simply a type of Japanese rice cracker.

Senbei are simply a type of Japanese rice cracker.

They’ve been eaten in Japan for at least 1,200 years, and once you’ve tasted them it’s not hard to see why — no matter the flavor, their crunchy texture and slight savory taste makes them all oddly addicting.

Senbei are made from non-glutinous rice and are commonly disc-shaped. The most basic of these snacks are generally slightly sweet and slightly savory all at once. Classic senbei is flavored with soy sauce, black sesame, red pepper, seaweed, kuromame (black beans) or sugar.  Different regions of Japan also have their own iconic flavorings such as curry, ebi (shrimp), mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and nure-senbei which is a type of “wet” senbei from being dipped in soy sauce during cooking.

Along with different flavors, however, there are many methods of cooking senbei — some grilled, some baked, some fried — which in turn means that, while senbei are always a bit crunchy, you can find them in many different textures.

You can find senbei at Uwajimaya in our snack aisle alongside other crackers, chips, and more.