Japanese Snackfood Review: Hitikuchi Monaka

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Oh ho! and Ah-ha! with perhaps a “Yessssss!” thrown in as we finally were able to track down these Hitikuchi Monaka beasties. It has taken literally years, years! of scouring the shelves of many a JSF purveyor until finally this past September of ought five TheMan found something that looked like the “suction cakes” of old. You want to know how long we have been looking for these fellas? I’ve never tried one and David the Muppet King used to bring Japanese goodies to the Wednesday game (then the Thursday game) waaaaaaay waaaaaay back in ought one. I’m not even sure if “suction cakes” were an ought one thing at all, it may have been further back pre boo time when the gang happened across these things. Anyway, we found if not “suction cakes” proper than their really, really close kissing cousin. Huzzah!

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Up front before any suction cake experience, I want to say that I love the mahjong tile shape. That’s fractional pea points for presentation and the critters aren’t even out of the bag yet. Plus, they have the whole suction cake legend going for them that has permeated the lore of our gang of peeps…not unlike a chupacabra of the saliva glands. A chupaboca if you will. Very seasonal.

I was instructed to pop the whole tile into my mouth to “fully experience the suction cakeness” but WAIT! Before you embark on this chupaboca munching experience let me advise you to have a glass of liquid handy. You will want it. I think it’s a necessity because suction cakes may actually be a Japanese desiccate with a thin layer of sweet bean paste spread thrown in. It’s really rather uncanny how something that can be described as a cross between a feral marshmallow and a biodegradable packing peanut can so easily suck the moisture from your mouth. And stick to the roof of your mouth because this fella will glom onto your upper palate like it was afraid of tongue. You may also look like a dog eating peanut butter as you try to get this glom of suction cake detached from the various surfaces it has adhered to. While you are accomplishing that, the texture of chupaboca will have turned from packing peanutesque to masticated Wonderbread.

All this isn’t bad per se, just weirdly unusual in a sweet(ish) snack food offering. Suction cakes, unlike biodegradable packing peanuts, do have a faint flavor to them akin to cheap host for you Catholics out there or a slightly ricey packing peanut for everyone else who hasn’t partaken of communion by wafers. It’s not horrid, but I wouldn’t want to be eating it at every meal either. They even have a redeeming sweet bean paste layer that is quite pleasant. TheMan, who hates bean paste, commented that he liked it so you know it’s gotta be good.

I think the best quote that came out of this experience was, “Suction cakes are good in a group where everyone only gets one” prompting me to give a

Rating

of 1.5 Wasabi Pea out of a possible 5.

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