Aji WOW: Umaibo, part 1
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: Umaibo snacks.
Umaibo are little corn puff snacks that come in savoury flavours. Not the ones we're all familiar with, like cheese and onion. Nah, Umaibo are a little more... individual than that.
(Yes, that is a turban. That's how we know it's curry flavoured. Sigh.)
It wasn't as brightly artificially coloured as I expected from a curry snack, but wow the smell! Definitely much more curry than chicken.
And no chicken flavour in the taste whatsoever. It's unusually sweet, which is disappointing. The curry is in there, masked by a lot of sugar. Not one I'd want to eat often. At least it wasn't spicy, I have a very low tolerance for spice...
Mentai - pollock roe
My first reaction on opening this packet was 'oh god, it's bright orange'. Thankfully the accompanying aroma is not overpowering. If the smell was as potent as the colour, I may have fainted.
I've realised that I don't eat enough mentai to give you an accurate rundown of whether this tasted good. Sorry. It's super salty, though. Needs to be washed down with a liberal amount of drink. I had a bottle of tea on hand for this taste test, and I had most of it with this one Umaibo.
Again, I am also not a regular consumer of potage. I imagine all corn potage has a talking sweetcorn bathing in soup. It seems completely unconcerned about its inevitable demise.
The initial smell is very buttery sweetcorn, like corn on the cob. So is the taste - until a massive kick of garlic aftertaste whacks you right in the tonsils. Holy crap, there's a lot of garlic in this. But I like that! I'm a garlic fan, which means this actually gets a higher score.
The teriyaki sauce flavour is evident immediately, matched by the darkness of the brown coating. It's unfortunate that being dark brown makes an Umaibo look... sort of unappetising. I deliberately left the photo of that out.
Just as with the curry snack, this is all teriyaki and zero burger. The sweetness in the sauce is quite powerful, almost cancelling out the rest of the flavour. This was a real shame for me, because I enjoy teriyaki things. It's got authentic sauce taste, just not enough of it.
Next time: more Umaibo. If I can stomach them.