Aji WOW: Lucky Mayonnaise
Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: 'Lucky Mayonnaise' rice cracker snacks.
Japan likes making snacks (and instant noodle pots) that taste like mayo. Mostly potato snacks, but you see corn and rice ones, too. Like these.
Lucky Mayonnaise is made with mochi rice, sourced from both Japan and Thailand. (Mayonnaise is the 2nd ingredient on the list.) They don't look like rice crackers, at a first glance. Until I checked the back of the bag, I thought they were made from potato like the others.
Pack design's simple but effective. You see the words 'Lucky Mayonnaise' (in Japanese) in bold red lettering and you're hooked, basically. Well, that's why I bought them. This is too interesting for me to pass up. Each bag's also nice and cheap.
It was hard to find out why there's a bird on the bag above the name. The company that makes them doesn't give much away. From other people's reviews, it seems like the bird motif's related to the Chinese year of the rooster. Ah, hey, that's where the luck comes in!
But that was 2017. And that's not even a rooster design. And I bought this in 2018, the year of the dog. Redesigning the pack every year must be too much effort.
Open the bag to be instantly hit by a strong, fairly realistic mayo scent. Ah, now that's reassuring. I was half expecting them to have a mayo filling. But no, they're crunchy in the middle. And not too high in calories, considering they look deep fried.
The main thing to ask is 'do these actually taste like mayonnaise?' and holy crap, they do. Lucky Mayonnaise is by far the most authentic mayo-flavoured snack I've eaten so far.
Added vinegar in the mix piles on the strength. It's like eating mayonnaise straight from the jar with a spoon. Or squeezing the bottle directly into your mouth. (Not... not that I've ever done either of those things...) So weird. So... weirdly addictive.
I like mayo a lot - wouldn't have touched these with a bargepole if I didn't. I enjoyed eating these, and would buy them again. I got a kick out of offering them to other people, and seeing their reactions to how strong these snacks taste.
These snacks are classed as 'otsumami', for snacking on while drinking. They start to get heavy on the salt and vinegar taste about halfway through. I don't recommend trying to eat a whole pack without a drink handy, to wash them down.
The other question is: 'is Lucky Mayonnaise really lucky?' I've got no idea yet. Didn't feel any instant improvements while I was chewing away. It's been around a week since I ate them, and I haven't noticed anything significant. This isn't a quick fix if you're trying to transform your fortunes.
Maybe I won't get the lucky benefits until the next year of the rooster. That's... 2029. Eat some rice crackers and wait 11 years for luck? Next time, I'll just buy a mini mayo bottle, a spoon, and a lottery ticket.
Verdict: 9.5/10. Authentic enough to justify using 'mayonnaise' in the name, instead of hedge-your-bets 'mayo'. The 'lucky' bit remains to be seen...