Monday, April 27, 2015

Tao Kae Noi Crispy Seaweed (Wasabi) - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ

Tao Kae Noi Crispy Seaweed (Wasabi) - H-Mart: Cherry Hill, NJ
It's Meatless Monday again, and this time I'm reviewing a slightly different kind of seaweed snack.

At this point, I"m reviewed quite a few seaweed based snacks, I even made a video about some particularly artistic ones.

My favorite kind are the plain sheets of seaweed with a light sprinkling of salt and tons of wasabi powder. During my last trip to H-mart I was walking down the snack aisle looking to pick some of my usual snacks, and I saw these. Normally my sheets come in little plastic trays with individual servings, but this is like a bag of chips, only it's seaweed. I haven't tried seaweed snacks done in this kind of packaging, so I thought I might as well check them out.

This packaging is more like a bag of chips, in the sense that it's filled with multiple servings and a bit of air to keep the product from being crushed, but seaweed sheets are usually very delicate. I'm not sure how this kind of packaging works with this snack. (I guess I'll find out.) As for it's design, it's colorful, metallic, and it has all of these little mascot-style illustrations. To be honest, the packaging seems a little...not PC? Or is it just me? Moving on, the coloring is bright, eye catching, and I like the metallics, but this packaging is very unforgiving. It shows off every crinkle, and it looked like all of the bags in the store had taken quite a beating. This was one of the best ones, and it looks a bit more beat up in real life than it does in photos, but these items come from all around the world, so it most likely looks that way because it really did get banged up on it's way to New Jersey. All in all, it's a decent design, but I can't speak on it's functionality until I open it up and see the state of the seaweed inside.

I opened the bag the the smell was already different than my usual seaweed snacks. Instead of smelling ocean-y, this smells a little greasy and processed. Kind of like corn puffs and other snack foods. I can't smell any wasabi, just this oily kind of snack food aroma.

As soon as I took a seaweed strips out of the bag I could see it was definitely different than what I'm used to. My usual seaweeds snacks are thin sheets, so thin light can shine through it, but these are significantly thicker. Light can still shine through crevasses when held up to a light bulb, but for the most part it's a lot thicker, almost like several of my normal sheets were fused together into one.The overall texturing of the strips looks a lot different too. It reminds me of those safety rubber playground coatings. Okay, let's see how this tastes. (Hopefully better than recycled rubber flooring.)

I took a bit, and texturally, these are quite different. Due to their thickness there is a denser chew, and it feels kind of foam-y. I don't mean foamy as in bubbles, more like craft foam sheets. It's an interesting texture, but it's not something I'm especially fond of. I imagine this is several sheets of processed seaweed re-pressed and dried into sheets, similar to making recycled paper at home with a blender and a window screen. (Did anyone else do that in elementary school?)

Now as far as the taste, the wasabi flavoring is very similar to the intensity that was on these wasabi snacks, and the seaweed taste kind of like a junkfood version of the real deal. It's not bad, I like the overall flavoring, but that texture takes a little getting used to. I prefer the thinner sheets, but you do get a lot of seaweed for your money in this bag. I'd say there's easily three servings in here (although the bag says 2), and it's a healthier snack than other chips and crisps.

If you like seaweed these could be your new favorite snack item, but if you're a fan of the thinner and crispier little sheets, this one might not be for you. I liked this, but not enough to buy this over my normal wasabi flavored seaweed sheets. This line comes in a few different flavors that I've never seen in normal seaweed snacks, so I picked them up to tryout later this month. Maybe they'll be better since I'll have no basis of comparison for them. (I guess we'll see.)
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