Ware Senbei: Classic Japanese “Broken” Rice Crackers
“Senbei (せんべい)”, together with “Okaki (おかき)” and “Arare (あられ)”, is one of the traditional Japanese rice crackers.
Senbei generally has a larger size than Okaki and Arare and typically comes in a round shape.
In Japan, the snack is available in several types. Among others, “Yaki Senbei (焼煎餅)” is the most common variety, which is made by grilling or baking rice dough.
In addition to them, there is one more popular type, which is “Ware Senbei (割れせんべい)” I introduce here.
Ware Senbei (割れせんべい) or Waresen (割れせん)
As in its name, “Ware (割れ)” stands for “broken”, “Ware Senbei (割れせんべい)”, sometimes abbreviated to “Waresen (割れせん)”, is literally a broken Senbei.
This Senbei has its roots in defective products, such as broken pieces or curved shapes of Senbei.
Since Senbei is traditionally hand-made by artisans, such defects occasionally occur in the production process.
Thus, Ware Senbei is originally made up of those imperfect crackers, but in recent years, it is made by intendedly breaking Senbei.
What I picked up today is just that kind of Ware Senbei. It is broken for a certain aim.
According to the description on the packaging, why the Senbei is broken into small pieces is that seasonings, such as soy sauce, well infiltrate into the cracks.
In fact, these broken pieces are flavored by dunking in soy sauce twice.
That is why these rice crackers have a dark brown color. They have a strong flavor of soy sauce compared to regular Yaki Senbei but hold the perfect crunch!
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 久助 (Kyusuke) )