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Try China’s Most Iconic Snack: Rice Crisps
Try China’s Most Iconic Snack: Rice Crisps
Pic credits: Lauri Patterson on Unsplash
Chinese rice crisps or crackers are a staple in most households. Light, crispy, and giving a perfect umami bite - The perfect snack for any occasion. Known as senbei, okaki, or arare, these crackers are most known for their ubiquitous nature in Japan but actually originate in China.
Senbei are versatile and prepared in a variety of ways but usually start with glutinous or non-glutinous rice flour, cooked rice, water, and oil. Then, they are roasted, baked, or deep-fried and dipped in sweet or savory toppings. From soy sauce to nori to sesame seeds to honey, these crunchy rice crisps are eaten both as chips and cookies across China.
History of Rice Crisps:
While the term ‘senbei’ is Japanese, and these rice crisps are considered a traditional Japanese snack, their origins might be unexpected¹. Originating in China during the Three Kingdom’s Period, rice crisps started as a type of crepe called jianing. During the Han Dynasty (202–8 BC), rice crisps were eaten from January 1st through March 3rd to celebrate the New Year by the Chinese court and were then brought to Japan during the Asuka Period (538–710 AD).
There are various stories of how Chinese rice crisps became Japanese senbei. Some say that a sweet version of jianing was remade in Japan as a savory rice cracker during the Tang Dynasty, while others say that they were brought over even before that. The most legendary story is that they were created in the Edo period in the village of Soka, by a woman named Osen.
Whatever their history, senbei’s popularity exploded across Japan, with sweet versions presented at parties and salty ones popular amongst farmers who made their crisps with leftover rice from the fields. Eventually, people started to glaze salty senbei with soy sauce, branching out their flavors. By the 1700s, senbei varieties resembled what we might recognize today, and many of the legendary Japanese senbei shops of that era are still open today.
Although senbei are still historically significant in Japan, their popularity as a snack food is unmatched in China. While the rice crisp industry has largely died off in Japan, being mostly a historic cultural phenomenon, in China, rice crisps are everywhere.
Rice Crisps in China Today
Although senbei is now associated with its Japanese heritage, these addictive rice crisps are far more popular in China and are one of the most widely consumed snacks across the entire nation, with their sales generating over 1 billion USD a year².
The majority of Chinese rice crisps today are manufactured by Want Want, a brand born from the Japanese confectionery company Iwatsuka³ and popularized in China by a 19-year-old CEO over a decade ago. However, Want Want’s hold on the market is dwindling, and as the demand for rice crisps only increases, opportunities abound for new flavors and styles.
While you can find Chinese rice crisps from countless brands, some of the most delicious ones come from Huajiao Shijia, available wholesale at Trustana. An emerging brand with its finger on the flavor pulse, Huajiao Shijia is taking the senbie game to another level.
Who Are Huajiao Shijia?
Since 2018, Huajiao Shijia⁴ has solidified its culinary genius by specializing in foods flavored with Hancheng Dahongpao, one of China’s most distinctive and iconic flavor profiles. Now one of the leading manufacturers of pepper-flavored snacks, they sell more than 5,000 cartons each day and have garnered support for their sustainable practices and well-run supply chain management, selling at places like Biàn Lì Fēng and 7-11 across China.
All of Huajiao Shijia’s delicious crisps bring the distinct flavor of the Szechuan peppercorn. It’s a mellow but vibrant spice that will warm your throat as you eat, creating an addicting sensation that will keep you coming back again and again. The mix of the peppercorn undertones, the perfect crunch in each shape, and the various flavors make these crisps irresistible.
Here are just a few of the delicious flavors of rice crisps available to order from Trustana:
Golden Crispy Rice Variety
A bag full of classic bite-sized, round crisps, this variety is the ideal accompaniment for dips and sauces since each crisp has a hollow center for the perfect scoop.
- Tomato Flavor⁵: An unbeatable classic, these tomato-flavored crisps are bursting with umami and a subtle sweetness, with just a hint of warming spice.
- Cumin Flavor⁶: The unbeatable combination of cumin and peppercorn that permeates the amazing Chinese cuisine, all condensed into one perfectly crispy bite.
- Spicy Flavor⁷: While it won’t set you on fire, this spicy flavor is certainly not for the faint of heart, but the payoff couldn’t be more worth it.
Prickly Ash Variety
Reminiscent of the most classic senbie, when you sit down to watch a movie with a bag of these rice crisps, they’ll be gone before the trailers are over.
- Classic Pepper Flavor⁸: Nothing beats a classic, and this pepper flavor will be a hit even with the pickiest of eaters
- Pepper Flavor Twist⁹: With a taste reminiscent of the classic pepper flavor, this twisted bite of goodness has an unbeatable crunch and will be eaten by the handful
- Brown Sugar Flavor¹⁰: While it might seem like an unusual combination at first glance, the warming spice of peppercorn mixed with the depth of flavor offered by the brown sugar is the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
Rattan Pepper Rice Variety
With its classic lacey texture and light as air crunch, this Rattan variety goes wonderfully with teas, coffees, or a cold beer.
- Spicy Flavor¹¹: For anyone looking to up their spice game without burning up, this absolute classic is beloved by everyone.
- Explosive Hot Spicy Flavor¹²: For the daredevils out there, if you can handle the heat, nothing can beat the hit these explosive rice crisps provide.
These are just a few of the amazing rice crisps on offer from Trustana. Serving as the perfect bar snack, sandwich side, or simply as an essential convenience store shelf staple for customers craving a crunchy snack, rice crisps are sure to delight you. Do not miss out on these wholesale deals.