Sanuki Oiri: Lucky Arare Rice Crackers from West Kagawa
When it comes to the specialty food of Kagawa Prefecture on Shikoku Island, Sanuki Udon (讃岐うどん) is famous, generally known as Japan’s 3 Major (Best) Udon Noodles.
In ancient times, people called Kagawa, Sanuki no Kuni (讃岐国: Country of Sanuki), and even now, some regions use the old name Sanuki (讃岐) as part of their names.
For example, the western part of Kagawa Prefecture is now called SeiSan (西讃) or Nishi Sanuki (西讃岐).
Oiri (おいり) from West Sanuki
In Seisan or West Sanuki, there is a traditional custom that the bride and groom present a rice cracker to their guests at the wedding party. The rice snack is a type of Arare (あられ) called Oiri (おいり).
As for history, the origin can be traced back to around 1587 when peasants in the region offered five colors of parched Arare crackers to their Lord as a wedding gift for his daughter.
The Lord was delighted to see those colorful treats. And from then on, the parched Arare became a lucky item for the wedding.
By the way, Oiri is the abbreviation of Oirimono (お煎りもの), which translates into English as parched things.
As you can see, in addition to the small colorful Oiri, the product I got also contains two round-shaped Senbei-like snacks.
Based on the ingredient list pictured above, these Oiri crackers consist of Mochi-Gome glutinous rice, caster sugar called Johakuto, starch syrup, starch, cinnamon oil, leavening agent, and colors.
Oiri has a delicate sweetness characteristic of Johakuto sugar. The Arare cracker is crusty and crispy on the outside. But its inside is fluffy and melts away in your mouth.
Where to Buy
These Arare crackers are available as a gift or souvenir in the western regions of Kagawa and East Ehime, priced at several hundred yen.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia おいり )