Japanese Snack Food Review: Satsumaimo Pretz

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Check it out…more Pretz! These fellas almost had to be bookshelved because Rob of the Japanese translations said “Pfft, I have no idea what those kanji say” so I thought I was up a creek. Then I flipped them over and wala! They have an English printed Japanese name: Satsumaimo. However, I still don’t speak Japanese so that didn’t help me much. The ingredients have, among other things, Roast Sweet Potato Powder so I thought Satsumaimo might be sweet potato. Then again…

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They also list Pork Lard and with all my vast knowledge of Japanese, Satsumaimo might just be Pork Lard as easily as it is Sweet Potato. I even tried Googling Satsumaimo, although I left off the terminal ‘o’ when I cut and pasted. But! Google caught that. Oh yes it did. It asked me Did you mean define:Satsumaimo and I got all excited because dude! Google knows what Satsumaimo is! Then when I said “Whoops, yes. My bad. Please define the word I meant to type in”, Google came up with “No definitions were found for Satsumaimo.”

Google, you tease.

I then tried straight Googling Satsumaimo and lo. Sweet potato (or yams as I like to call them. I just really like the sound of the word ‘yam’). I like me some sweet potatoes (yams) and any time Pretz muscles in on Pocky’s sweet stick thing domain I am entertained. Sadly, not all of my Guinea Pigs were as entertained as I was so I think Satsumaimo Pretz is going to get an oddly mixed review.

Pretz is Pretz so if you have been following the review for a while, you probably already have a feeling for the base stick. It’s wheaty and savory with a dense pretzel/crunchy breadstick consistency. And also it’s pretty tasty. One of my favorite Pretz of all times was Pepper Pretz and that was simply the base Pretz stick with pepper. Mmmm, tasty. Satsumaimo does not deviate from the base Pretz stick so add the usual tasty pea points for the Prez base stick. It’s also of the flat variety, which we’ve only seen (so far) in Maple and Butter Pretz.

The taste is, first and foremost, sweet. Thus, along with the Maple and Butter Pretz and the Hokkaido Butter Pretz we now have a triumvirate of sweet Pretz. Satsumaimo is also somewhat yammy, but not so much that I could pick the spudness out in a taste lineup. They are a tad yammier than the last yam based JSF but the flavor just doesn’t scream sweet spuds to me. Maybe yam just doesn’t come out as strong and tasty in a baked treat as it does in its natural yam form. There is also a little nuttiness (I’m guessing from the sesame) to go with the hint of yam, and a touch of background savory, but mostly there is the sweet.

Incidentally, the slight nuttiness does lead me to ask if sesame is a common addition to sweet potato. I’ve never fixed them up that way, but then again, I’ve never been Japanese either so I just can’t say if it’s the norm or not. It’s an interesting combination though.

I really liked the Satsumaimo Pretz as did another Pig, but the Guinea Pigs over at TheMan’s office were quite put out about the sweetness of these Pretz. Personally, I’d give Satsumaimo Pretz every bit as much of a 4 as the Maple and Butter Pretz got but TheMan’s contingency wanted to go with a 2 or maybe 2.5. This may be a yam thing or maybe a balking at the sweet Pretz thing so to be fair, I’ll split the difference and then knock off the extra 0.25 pea for failing to produce the yam. With the caveat that those of you who like the sweet and can stand the yam, this would be a 4 while those of you who do not might want to think of this as a 2.5ish, I’ll grant Satsumaimo Pretz a happy middle of the road

Rating

of 3 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

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