Super Fun Japanese Snack Time – Tiny Rings of Hell


Continuing the trend of following thoughtful posts with superficial click bait, I present to you what will hopefully not become a running series on this site.  Truthfully, the Japanese snack review thing has been done really well elsewhere.  If you have never had a chance to see the “Emmy Made in Japan” series on YouTube,  I urge you to give it a try as she can actually explain what the snacks are and provide the extra insight that comes along with the ability to speak Japanese.  I, on the other hand, have a dull palate and no idea how to read any of the Japanese alphabets.  This might be a disaster.

snack3For those of you who are familiar with the Japanese convenience store culture, I purchased this snack at a Lawson.  Lawson is similar to 7/11 in the States (though they have 7/11s in Japan as well) and offers all of the typical convenience store fare as well as some prepared foods. The small bag cost about 100 yen, or roughly one dollar.

I will begin by admitting that I have no idea what this snack is actually called.  My friend Kou the Japanese bartender mentioned something about it being “habanero” when I showed him a picture of the bag.  For now I will refer to the snack as “habanero rings” and if anyone out there cares to correct me I will gladly accept the information.

What makes this snack unusual is that it comes unseasoned.  There is a small packet of dried spices glued to the outside of the bag, allowing the consumer the option to regulate the flavor intensity. For the impatient and dimwitted, like myself, giving flavor control to the consumer is a bad idea. snack2

I neglected to do the obligatory sugar packet shake before opening the spice packet.  Big mistake.  As soon as I tore open the packet a substantial amount of the very fine powder flew into the air and immediately found its way up my nose.  

The weaponized snack powder brought about an immediate sneeze and my eyes started to water.  I have never been tear gassed or pepper sprayed, mostly because I am a law abiding citizen who believes protests and picket lines are glorified fashion shows for the easily outraged, but habanero snack powder up the nose must be a similar experience.

snack4Following a brief recovery period I dumped the remaining contents of the packet into the bag and shook it in accordance with the instructions.  The result was a bag of crispy rings coated in hell powder.  I wanted to get on with the taste test but when I opened the bag a new plume of the weaponized powder entered my nose and I had to begin the recovery process all over again.

Eventually I ate a few of the habanero rings and recorded my initial thoughts on a piece of paper. Here’s a short transcript:

  • massive pain in nose
  • the crispy rings have no salt
  • no heat on tongue
  • oh my god these taste like shit
  • why do they sell these?
  • who could possibly enjoy this?
  • eyes watering
  • cannot stop sneezing
  • profuse nasal drip
  • the worst dollar I have ever spent
  • I can’t believe I am about to finish the entire bag
  • what the hell is wrong with me?

In short, the habanero rings were awful.

Somewhere in Japan, perhaps at this very moment, there is a successful businessman wearing only a diaper, being repeatedly flogged with a leather whip – this guy probably loves habanero rings.

Official rating:  Habanero rings are painful to eat and bland.   The spice powder tastes like artificial wasabi and creates intense pain in the nasal cavities.  Avoid this snack unless you enjoy the thrill of public humiliation.

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  1. Jmoney says:

    Clearly, you are unfamiliar with Japanese spicy cock rings.–to heat up the bedroom