Thursday, October 18, 2018

UHA Sozai No Mama Croquettes, Gyoza, MRE Pizza, and Other Snacks

UHA is a company famous for their Puccho chews, gummy candy, and hard candy.  They also have Sozai line of snacks which were made of freeze-dried veggies, and other assortments of nuts and things which are obviously tasty.  These Souzai snacks come in small foil bags which weigh around 30 grams, sell for a few hundred yen, and can be found in konbini or places like Don Quijote.

In the last few years they have moved into making shelf-stable snack foods that simulate items like deep-fried croquettes, shrimp sui mai, and now gyoza.  This is a pretty amazing feat, kind of like the US military finally developing a shelf-stable pizza Meal Ready to Eat (MRE).  In October 2018, UHA released a snack food version of gyoza which I would really like to try too.  The next time I'm in Japan I'm hunting for these UHA snacks in addition to limited edition cup noodles and freeze-dried soups from Amano.  It always seems like there is a new kind of food to try every time I visit.

Here is a link to the English site of UHA for these snacks. 

Each of these little Sozai snack packs is not very big at 30 grams.  This is basically the weight of a small bag of potato chips.  I find them very interesting as these are not just a deep fried snacks.  They use a high-tech combination of deep-frying and freeze-drying to reduce the amount of moisture in the snacks to allow them to be shelf-stable for a long period of time.  This means you could take them hiking or keep a few around with your instant ramen.  The mushroom snack shown in the picture above is just freeze-dried (with almost no fat), and mushrooms are loaded with umami so they will taste really good.

For the croquette package, you get six little croquettes which are each the size of a silver dollar coin but a third of an inch thick.  The croquettes are crispy on the outside with a nice meat-like filling that has a firmer and chewier texture.  They are quite pleasant to munch on, with the deep fried croquette texture on the outside.  They do contain 13.7 grams of fat due to the combination of deep frying and the filling.  There is a review of the croquettes here.

The shrimp sui mai package contains five small sui mai dumplings that resemble deep fried sui mai.  There is a thin, crispy outside layer with a meatier filling contained within.  These are also interesting as they do have a mild shrimp flavour and have a crispy crunch and nice chew.  These ones contain
10.2 grams of fat.

Finally, the new gyoza package contains 4 smaller gyoza.  The gyoza are slightly larger than the sui mai and they look like they have been deep fried to provide a crispy outside skin with a meaty filling that is chewy with some moisture in it.  Again, they have a nice sesame and chili sauce aroma and have a nice flavour.  There is only 7.8 grams of fat in this one.  There is a review of the gyoza here.

If you hunt online, you will find all kinds of videos taste testing these snacks, and some people rehydrating them with water or even using them as toppings for other dishes such as cup noodles.  To give a better idea about what these snacks are like, here is a short Youtube video I found where you get to see what the freeze-dried mushroom, the croquette, and the shrimp sui mai are like.

I meantioned the Pizza MRE earlier, and yes, the US military taste tested it in September with some troops.  The Pizza MRE has to be shelf-stable for years and it doesn't exactly look like great pizza, but it compares favourably with day old pizza from the fridge.  It would probably be a treat when it is eaten in the field after being warmed up with a flameless ration heater.

More Japanese Pop Culture Posts.

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