Senbei: A Traditional Japanese Treat

Senbei are crispy crackers made from rice (and often flavored). These crispy treats come in   both sweet and savory varieties, and have been a Japanese favorite for over a thousand years. Traditionally, the crackers are made from rice flour (sometimes with the addition of potato or other glutinous flours, though usually without wheat) either baked or grilled until crispy and light. The shop’s displays demonstrate the wide variety of senbei; I sampled many and enjoyed them all. Another popular cracker, similar to but distinct from traditional senbei are the small, round crunchy crackers known as arare (あられ) or “hailstones.” Many Western markets carry these small, round

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