Already home to a plethora of weird and wonderful snacks, a new contender appears to have hit the Japanese market.
Usually, snack makers like to lure in young and old with fanciful cartoon mascots and promises of salt and/or sugar-based delights. But food producer UHA appears to have taken a totally different route with their Kinoko No Manma, which loosely translates as “mushrooms as they are”, but a slightly more fitting interpretation might be “I Can’t Believe They’re Not Mushrooms!” As the snack’s name implies, its main selling point is that the things inside the bag look exactly like freshly picked mushrooms, but in fact they aren’t…
Or are they? It’s exactly that confusion, and the snack’s rarity, that’s causing many online to wonder: “What do these things taste like and how can we get them?”
Before you go running out to your local conveinece store or supermarket, you should know that it appears these snacks are only sold in the central part of Honshu, something that may come as shock to those living in or near major urban centers like Tokyo and Osaka and who are used to getting all the cool stuff first.
▼ “Shocking!!! I inquired about Kinoko No Manma but they are only sold in the Chubu Region. There are no stores in the Tokyo area that have them. It’s also undecided if they will expand on the sales area. There’s no choice but to hoard some in Nagoya!”
衝撃！！！ お問い合わせの「茸のまんま」ですが、地区限定商品として中部地区のみでの取扱 い商品のため 首都圏での取り扱い店舗はございません。 販売店の拡売につきましても未定となっております。 名古屋で買い溜めするしかなかったのか！ http://t.co/XHdbN4DAgG—
りーこ(とんこさんﾀｲﾌﾟ)☻ (@Rika_co) October 10, 2014
This means that those in the rest of Japan are left skimming through their Twitter feed to learn more about these peculiar snacks. According to the lucky few who have tried Kinoko No Manma, they resemble regular shimeji or shiitake mushrooms at first glance but have a very different texture and taste.
▼ “Munching on some Kinoko No Manma Shiitake Flavor… It’s sweet. But the taste of shiitake fills my mouth… But it’s also lightly salted flavor. Salty and sweet so I tried it with some soy sauce… Just as I thought, it was delicious.”
tomoko (@greenlanddic1) March 30, 2014
▼ “I saw these snacks called Kinoko No Manma in the discount bin at the supermarket. I opened the bag and it’s really dried enoki!! I tried some and its really dried enoki!! Everyone try some…”
スーパーの割引コーナーで 茸のまんまというスナック発見。 開けてみると本当にドライえのき！！ 食べてみると本当にドライえのき！！ みなさまお試しあれ… http://t.co/dD4CymjpG9—
ともチャん (@Tomoko93443) June 28, 2014
So, according to the Twitter reviews thus far these things are apparently crunchy, dry, salty, sweet, and go great with soy sauce all at once. Other reports say that Kinoko no Manma are actually freeze-dried mushrooms, 50kcal a bag, and go great on fried rice or salads as a sweet and salty topping. We don’t know who to believe.
These certainly sound like some magic mushrooms, but we wouldn’t know because they aren’t being sold around our parts. And that’s the brilliance of UHA, because I’m sure I wouldn’t give these things a second of thought if they were readily available to me, but at this moment there’s nothing I want more.