I realize the title of this post is a little clunky, but that's the situation here. I hurriedly grabbed two bags of snacks that both read, "Product of Thailand." However, when I looked up the products online, I learned that the manufacturing companies was actually Japanese. The two snacks I tried were Shirakiku nori make arare (or rice crackers with seaweed) and Calbee baked shrimp chips.
Both companies had almost ridiculously detailed websites. Shirakiku is actually a private brand of products made by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. The company, which has had some name changes, was founded in 1912. They produce a whole host of food items--frozen seafood, ramen, fruits and vegetables, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Also some non-edible food products, like chopsticks, bento boxes, and sushi trays. This Kobe, Japan based company boasted sales of 1.2 billion in 2015, and employs over 1200 people worldwide. Additionally, their Frequently Asked Questions section on the website answers the query, "Is it safe to eat products from Japan after a nuclear power plant accident?" (The short answer is apparently "yes," as government agencies from Japan, the U.S., and Canada inspect and clear their food products.)
Calbee is a slightly newer company, dating back to 1949. This company specializes in potato-based snacks, other veggie snacks, and granola-type cereals. Among other things, their website mentions that they have an impressive 99.9% recycling rate. Also that they employ 3728 employees (as of February 17, 2017 I guess--I can't believe how exact they are!) Calbee also received awards in 2014 and 2016 for being proactive about promoting female employees and staff. As for marketing, Calbee both sponsors a car racing team and the Tiger and Bunny anime. Finally, they currently are owned by 25,730 shareholders. (Sorry, I know the average reader almost certainly doesn't care about this, but I'm amused by the precise statistics on their public website.)
As it turns out, I had the seaweed rice crackers before, years ago, although it might have been a different company's version. Shirakiku's crackers were small, yellowish-brown rods that were wrapped in seaweed. Texture-wise, they were very crunchy. The taste was very good. Since I'm a fan of seaweed in general (see December 12, 2013 post for more information) it's not too surprising that I liked a rice cracker wrapped in it. Quite a respectable snack. I can heartily recommend the Shirakiku nori make arare.
The Calbee shrimp chips were also rod shaped, with ribs on them. Their yellow chips were about 2 inches (about 5 cm.) long. They're made from wheat flour, palm oil, shrimp, corn and tapioca starches, sugar, salt, and leavening (which contains various chemicals, including the dreaded-by-some MSG). Like the seaweed crackers they were crunchy. And once again, they were quite tasty. Their shrimp flavor was detectable, but not too overpowering. I enjoyed these a lot, and will definitely buy them again when I get the chance (both of these snacks came from a Wegman's supermarket).
Overall, then, it was a good week's haul--both snacks were clearly worth it.
Switching tracks, I recently got an acceptance from a horror magazine called DeadLights. It's for a non-fiction piece. We should start editing very soon, and the issue is due out this April. More details to follow. (Update: DeadLights unfortunately closed abruptly in May or June, before their second issue came out. My non-fiction piece was never published by them. I forgot to update this post.)