Revitalizing the Japanese rice cracker

30 Jun 2017 in Food Culture

Discover how one small company in Tokyo is helping revolutionize Japanese senbei (rice crackers) with a sensational new concept.


You may have come across Japanese senbei before. They’re the disc-shaped rice crackers that are a favourite snack food in Japan. Usually served with green tea or as street food, senbei are made by grilling or baking crushed rice and typically flavoured with soy sauce or nori seaweed.

Japanese crackers

Until recently, senbei were regarded as old-fashioned by many young people. But now a host of exciting new flavours is hitting the market – heralding a senbei renaissance!

Thanks to the creativity of brands such as Senbei Brothers, Japanese senbei are coming back into fashion. Smart packaging and a wealth of wacky flavours mean that Senbei Brothers crackers are in popular demand.

It all started in 2014, when the Kasahara brothers took over their uncle’s senbei factory in the Funabori area of Tokyo. They immediately set about modernizing the company’s image, experimenting with new taste combinations.

Senbei Brothers

The result? Sweet soy sauce with butter, white sesame, sugar-coated senbei for kids, and a new line in aperitif senbei to accompany sake or wine, with flavours such as wasabi, garlic, smoky Italian and black pepper.

Senbei brothers crackers

Such is their success that there’s now a month-long waiting list for online orders! But guests at HOSHINOYA Tokyo can side-step the line by purchasing Senbei Brothers products directly in the hotel’s boutique.

HOSHINOYA Tokyo crackers

What’s more, HOSHINOYA Tokyo is working with Senbei Brothers to develop a range of exclusive new senbei just for guests. Possible flavours include yuzu citrus fruit and a new, more potent wasabi!

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