29 December, 2010

Puffed rice mystery

Ten years after we arrived in Japan, grocery shopping isn't too bad, I can usually find what I want. But there is the occasional item which frustrates or perplexes. Here's one.

Today I was looking for puffed rice to put in my home-made uncooked muesli (granola, some people call it). I have been making my own muesli since I graduated from uni over 15 years ago. The exact content of my muesli now varies from what it is in Australia, purely due to available ingredients. But I find that puffed rice (or wheat in Australia) is a vital component to keep it from being too heavy. 

I've bought it before, a couple of times a year or so, but very few shops seem to stock it and I was having trouble recently.  This blog tells me it is called pongashi, but I haven't found that in a dictionary yet. Today I looked for it in a large grocery store - it wasn't in the cereal aisle, nor the rice aisle or the snack aisle nor the rice cracker aisle. I didn't know what Japanese use it for and neither did I know its name in Japanese (before I came home and googled it), so it was hard to even ask a shop attendant for help.
I finally rode to another store where I've bought it before. I found it in an island display in the bread section. Am I any the wiser? No! Except that now I have a name for it and, after googling that name and finding videos like this, have now know what the canon picture on the label is all about. I think that Japanese combine it with a liquid sugar like glucose and eat it as a treat.
I'll stick with muesli thank you.

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