Like mixed nuts, mini pretzels and goldfish crackers in American bars, the Japanese have a much wider array of prepackaged drinking snacks. So, when you are in Japan, in a pinch, even in your hotel room, you could have a small party without spending a fortune on room service. Drinks (beer, whiskey, chochu, sake or premixed alcoholic drinks in a can) and drinking snacks of many different kinds are available from vending machines or near-by convenience stores (you have a better choice in the latter). We received a care package from my mother. This year, for some reason, she sent different kinds of packaged drinking snacks. The four I am showing here came in a large bag but were individually wrapped. (Such double wrapping is very common for Japanese food items).
Here are the individually packaged items which can be stored at room temperature for quite some time. The below are what they look like after removing the wrappers.
The left upper is “Iso-noki konbu” 磯の木昆布, a small layered kelp stick, which is a bit chewy but has a slight sweetness and kelp flavor (lower left in the picture below). The lower left is another kelp snack called “Yuzu-aji konbu” or yuzu-flavored kelp ゆず味昆布, a similar small kelp stick but less chewy with a nice yuzu citrus flavor (lower right in the picture below). In the center is “Iso-yaki hotate-gai” shore-grilled scallop 磯焼き帆立貝, which is a semi dried and cooked (the name implies grilled-on-the-shore) scallops. They have a nice scallop flavor but do not appear to be smoked but seasoned instead – soy sauce, mirin?? (Upper right in the picture below). Finally, on the right in the above picture is “Specail cheese hotate” スペシャル チーズ帆立, the muscle of scollop with mild cheese covering one side (Left upper in the picture below). This one is not as strongly flavored as the shore-grilled scallop.
These snacks are much more interesting and tasty (and sometimes chewy) than their American counterparts. It is very convenient as a drinking snack while you are making something else for your drink. My wife liked the yu-zu flavored kelp stick the best followed by the cheese covered scallop. I was more partial to the two scallop snacks. Whichever snacks we preferred, we both ended up drinking quantities of water–because although individually they are pleasingly seasoned cumulatively we felt we had eaten a lot of salt.