Meijiya Yukari: Niigata’s Very Unique Arare Rice Crackers
Niigata, the prefecture where I live, is famous as a rice production area in Japan, and the quality of its rice is highly regarded. Because of that, my prefecture prides itself on various specialties made from rice which include Sake rice wine and rice crackers such as Senbei, Okaki, and Arare.
In fact, many food companies in Niigata manufacture and sell those traditional rice crackers, and many of them are well recognized nationwide. Out of them, today let me introduce a classic, very unique Arare rice cracker with which you can make tea.
Yukari (ゆか里) from Meijiya (明治屋)
Actually, I got the Arare rice cracker called “Yukari (ゆか里)” from my aunt yesterday. The rice snack Yukari has more than 100 years of history and is popular among tourists as a souvenir of Niigata.
As you can see in the photo above, Yukari is a tiny Arare rice cracker with bulges that looks very similar to Konpeito, a traditional Wagashi confection made only from sugar. But unlike Konpeito, the Arare, Yukari is made from glutinous rice “Mochi Gome (餅米)”, and its core rice cracker is coated in a layer of colored sugar.
Ingredients and Flavors
Specifically, according to the ingredient list, the main ingredients in the Yukari rice crackers are granulated sugar, glutinous rice, starch syrup, colors, and flavors. Incidentally, the yellow-colored one has a Yuzu citrus flavor (original), the green one: Matcha green tea flavor, the orange one: ginger flavor, and the pink one: Shiso (perilla) flavor.
Arare Floating Yukari Tea
Since Yukari is a type of Arare rice cracker featuring its sugar coating, it can be eaten as it is. But usually, the sugar-coated rice cracker is used to make tea, and here is its typical eating manner; First, put some Yukari rice crackers in a cup and pour in boiling water.
Once the sugar coating dissolves in the hot water and its watercolor turns yellow, the tiny star-like rice crackers go up from under the water. When you see most of the rice crackers float on the surface, it is ready to drink. The resultant tea is sweetish with a nice fragrance associated with the citrus fruit Yuzu.
Where to Buy
The classic Arare rice crackers, Yukari is produced and sold by “Meijiya Yukari (明治屋ゆか里)”, an old confectionery shop in the city of Niigata, founded in 1900, where you can buy the Arare rice crackers.
Shop Informaion: Meijiya Yukari
Address: 1-2599 Minato-machi-dori, Chuo-ku, Niigata, Niigata Pref.
Open: 9:00 to 20:00