Lemon Ikaten: Hiroshima’s Addicting Squid Crackers
As you may know, “Otsumami (おつまみ)” is the Japanese word for the finger foods and nibbles eaten with alcoholic drinks, and the representative example includes Edamame, cold tofu “Hiyayakko (冷奴)”, “Chiitara (チータラ)“, and Kaki no Tane.
In addition to these, there is actually one more popular Otsumami snack that shouldn’t be forgotten, which is called “Ikaten (イカ天)”.
What is Ikaten?
Actually, the name of the Japanese snack, Ikaten is a compound word composed of 2 words, “Ika (イカ)” meaning “squid” or “cuttlefish” in Japanese, and “ten (天)” that stands for “Tempura (天ぷら)“.
So Ikaten is a Japanese squid cracker made by coating the dried squid called “Surume (スルメ)” in batter and deep-frying them in oil. Also called “Ika Fry (イカフライ)“, it is a good and old Otsumami snack that has been a long time favorite of us Japanese.
Hiroshima Prefecture is well known as a production area of Ikaten, where the squid fries are commonly used in “Hiroshimayaki (広島焼き)” or Hiroshima-style “Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)” pancake.
Setouchi Lemon Ikaten
When it comes to Ikaten products, an Ikaten snack from Hiroshima called “Setouchi Lemon Ikaten (瀬戸内レモン イカ天)” became a topic of conversation a few years ago in Japan, which I bought this time for the blog article.
The product, Setouchi Lemon Ikaten was released in 2013 by the food company located in Hiroshima “Maruka Foods (まるか食品)” and immediately became a big hit. In fact, it is said that the Hiroshima-based maker sold a million of the Ikaten snack in one year after it went on the market.
Setouchi Lemon is a lemon variety Hiroshima Prefecture boasts whose cultivation was first introduced in its Setouchi area in 1898. Therefore, the combination of the Hiroshima’s 2 specialties, Ikaten and Setouchi lemon, makes this product an addictive Otsumami snack.
Since traditional Ikaten crackers are mostly simply flavored with salt and sugar, the combination of Ikaten and lemon hadn’t been around before this product was introduced.
Featuring a nice crispy bite and a refreshing taste from Setouchi Lemon, the lemon Ikaten is lightly salted, savory, and not oily at all. Besides, the squid cracker is smaller in size than other Ikaten snacks, so very easy to eat, making it popular among women.