Nanbu Senbei : Aomori’s Traditional Wheat Crackers

When Japanese think of snack foods served with Japanese green tea, many of us bring “Senbei (煎餅)” to mind. Senbei is generally known as traditional Japanese rice crackers and comes in several types. Even though most Senbei are made from non-glutinous rice, the staple food of the Japanese, some are made with wheat flour instead of the rice.

For example, the classic Japanese cracker I introduced a while ago, Kawara Senbei is a Senbei whose main ingredient is wheat flour and doesn’t contain rice. Actually, in addition to Kawara Senbei, there is one more famous wheat cracker known as Senbei in Japan. That is “Nanbu Senbei (南部煎餅)”, which I picked up this time for this article.

Nanbu Senbei (南部煎餅)

Nanbu Senbei is a traditional wheat Senbei cracker that originated in Hachinohe, Aomori prefecture. Originally, Nanbu Senbei was an emergency food, so it is excellent in preservation. In modern times, Aomori and Iwate prefecture are famous as producers of Nanbu Senbei.

The Variety 

The brim of Nanbu Senbei is thin, while the center part is somewhat thick, where the food for flavoring is embedded throughout. These wheat Senbei have flavorings in the center, but there also exists Nanbu Senbei without containing flavoring foods.

Typical flavoring foods for Nanbu Senbei include sesame seeds, peanuts and walnuts, but other than these, there are many variations. Nowadays, some Nanbu Senbei are made adding squid meat, pumpkin, apple, or cocoa powder.

The Taste 

The taste of Nanbu Senbei varies slightly depending on the area and the variety. Generally, Aomori’s Nanbu Senbei features being a little bit salty, while the one consumed in Iwate is slightly sweet in taste. 

As for the ones I have now, this peanuts-embedded one is a bit sweet,

this one with white sesame seeds features the subtle saltiness coming from soy sauce, 

and the one containing black sesame seeds is slightly salty, but doesn’t include soy sauce.

The Eating Manner

Although we usually enjoy Nanbu Senbei as is just like we eat regular rice Senbei, sometimes Sekihan red rice or Mizuame candy is sandwiched between 2 pieces of the wheat crackers.

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia 南部煎餅 )



Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: