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Furikake Frenzy!

Growing up in Hawaii usually means that as a child, you automatically become a furikake addict. At some point in many Hawaii parents’s early years, the desperate attempts to get children to eat their food lead to the various bottles of salty Asian sprinkles. Suddenly, the “yuck!” rice in the bowl becomes magically delicious. No seriously, the heck with Lucky Charms. Furikake rice? That is magically delicious. Teriyaki meat with some Aji Norior Nori Komion it becomes a fascinatingly “Mmm!” food. With a sigh of relief, Mom and Dad look at the little glass bottle in wonder that such a simple thing can ease so much stress from the dinner table.

Then a couple years down the line, when your children enter the “independent” phase, trouble emerges. Suddenly, they MUST apply their own and must do so with a vengeance. The phrase “too much furikake” begins to incite tantrums. Eventually you resign yourself to the fact that dinner without furikake is dinner without peace and quiet. This goes on for years. The result is a collective conscience of furikake lovers. We all know the lust for the stuff. We scoop rice from the rice cooker and immediately say, “Where’s the furikake?” When the bottle is almost gone, another one must be there to take its place.

Or else.

My own children have fallen victim to this furikake craze. We have had to scoop out half a bottle of furikake from a bowl of food when an overly excited toddler gets ahold of the bottle and decides to self serve. As you can see from the girl pictured above, she’s half crazed simply by applying furikake to her bento. Take those bottles away from her and she’ll surely eat your soul.

Rules for this drawing and details for entering are now available on the forums. I have two prizes to offer which include this cute Anpanman furikake jar:

His head pops off to reveal a little jar. A separate package of furikake comes with him. The one pictured above is mine. The actual prize is still unopened. The other prize is a package of 20 furikake packets. There are various flavors in this one and it’s a great way to take some furikake with your bento without needing a little jar.

I’ve used this one myself for the kids, very yummy flavors! I should note though, I think one flavor is wasabi, so it’s hot! Last night I went to Don Quijote in town to find these and while I was there I happened to see the nori next to the furikake section. When I was a kid, Jichan and Grandma used to go to Japan once in a while. When they came back, my parents would take us to their house and they’d give us omiyaage (gifts brought back from their trip). I’m sure they must have given us other things, but the only thing I ever remember getting from them was a bag of shredded nori.

A bag of shredded nori may not sound all that fabulous, but to me and my brother, this stuff was like black gold. Nori from Japan is astonishingly better than the Yama Moto Yama stuff you buy at Cost-U-Less or Longs. I remember once my Uncle Les said to me, “I always buy nori, but it’s never as good as the stuff Jichan and Grandma bring back…” So true.

I’ve got pictures of me as a kid in a high chair with pieces of nori all over my face. We’d take the bag home and my parents would give us a little bit on a bowl of rice. When we were older we were able to take from the bag ourselves, going back constantly for “just a little bit more.” Eventually someone would yell from the kitchen, “WHO ATE ALL THE NORI?” You just had to hope it wasn’t you.

Anyway, it was only a couple of years ago that I discovered that this stuff is actually called “momi nori.” Yama Moto Yama makes a teriyaki version that’s pretty good. In fact, I have a bag at work that I snack on. Last night in Don Quijote I intended to buy more bags for the kids to eat when I saw it.

It looked familiar. Or similar. Whatever, it looked like the stuff from small kid time. I bought two bags. As soon as I got to the car I ripped one open and ate some. *gasp* The old stuff of my dreams. Can it really be true? It sure tastes like it. The bag in the photo had a lot more, but I was stuffing my face with the stuff last night while watching LOST. I must tell my brother immediately so that he may share in the wonder. Eventually my grandparents stopped going to Japan and Jichan would instead go to Waterfall and bring back salmon. That’s a whole ‘nother yummy story, but I had almost forgotten the taste of that wonderfully crispy black gold, slowly making its way back to us in Grandma’s suitcase. And now, thanks to Don Quijote, I never will.

Now, go get frenzied with your furikake!!!

Many thanks to Wyn for drawing the image in the banner!