Senbei crackers are part of the Japanese food culture and are often served together with green thee.
Most Senbei are made from rice flour, but there are also varieties based on wheat, fish or shrimp. Traditionally, they are baked, grilled or roasted over charcoal, while brushing them with soy sauce, ‘mirin’ and a sometimes an additional characteristic sauce. They are often wrapped in Nori seaweed to complement the taste and look.
Nowadays, they can be found in many creative forms and shapes, including curry flavour, a fish bone base and even chocolate!
Senbei have gained popularity abroad as a low-calorie and savoury snack, but few people have experienced the difference between industrial and traditionally-made Senbei.
Matsuzaki Senbei was established in 1804 and is now run by the sixth generation of the Matsuzaki family. For many years they have specialized in typical Senbei crackers with different flavours and textures. The third generation opened a main shop in Ginze – Tokyo’s most prestigious shopping district, where they became famous for their ‘Kawara Senbei’. These tile-shaped crackers, also known as ‘Sanmido’, are very sweet and crunchy and feature coloured motifs that change every season and range from flowers and fireworks, to Hello Kitty. These motifs can even be customized for special occasions, such as anniversaries, weddings and other memorable celebrations!