Ware Senbei : A type of Japanese rice cracker, which is broken
Senbei (せんべい), together with Okaki (おかき) and Arare (あられ), is one of the 3 major Japanese rice crackers. Compared to Okaki and Arare, generally Senbei is big and round in shape.
Speaking of the type, there are several types of Senbei rice crackers, including regular Senbei that is made by baking, Nure Senbei (濡れせんべい) that is known as wet Japanese rice crackers, and Age Senbei (揚げせんべい), or literally deep-fried Senbei. These are 3 common types of Senbei. In addition to them, there is one more type of Senbei that is commonly eaten in Japan. That is Ware Senbei (割れせんべい).
Ware Senbei (割れせんべい) : Cracked and broken Senbei rice crackers
Ware Senbei (割れせんべい), or Waresen (割れせん), is a cracked and broken Senbei. This type of Senbei has its roots in defective Senbei rice crackers, such as broken pieces and curved shapes of Senbei.
Since Senbei is traditionally made with hands by artisans, there is occurrence of defective Senbei in the production process. Therefore, Ware Senbei is originally the product that is made up of those defective Senbei rice crackers, but nowadays, Waresen rice crackers that are intendedly broken are being sold as well at supermarkets in Japan.
The item I picked up today is just the latter type of Ware Senbei, which is broken for a certain purpose.
According to the product package, the reason why the Senbei is broken into pieces is that the seasoning, such as soy sauce, is well infiltrated into the cracks. In fact, these broken pieces are seasoned by dunking in soy sauce twice.
This is why these Ware Senbei have a dark color and a strong flavor as compared to regular Senbei (Amazon.com). Nevertheless, they have a perfect crunchy texture just like regular Senbei.