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Monday, July 23, 2012

Hurricane Popcorn: Hapa Food

Hurricane popcorn is like SPAM musubi and butter mochi: classic delicious hapa food. They also share the common connection of all being invented in Hawaii, arguably the biggest hapa community around. After all, they did invent and popularize the very term "hapa."

This amazingly addicting snack combines Japanese flavors with American popcorn. Furikake and kakimochi (rice crackers) are sprinkled over buttery popcorn for something that is simultaneously sweet and salty, rich and airy, with an umami punch.

Furikake, a Japanese condiment made of dried nori seaweed mixed with salt, sesame seeds, and sometimes even eggs or dried fish flakes, is usually sprinkled over rice but instead is used to great effect over popcorn. I last used it in another hapa snack food: furikake chex mix.

Kakimochi, also known as arare (あられ) are more well known here in America. Any gas station probably has a very bland and maybe stale "oriental snack mix" which is primarily rice crackers. Believe me when I tell you that most kakimochi is worlds above this travesty; soy sauce and nori make for an assertively flavored sweet crunchy cracker that seems to be both melt-in-your-mouth and snappy. You could say that the furikake chex mix was really a kakimochi mix made with western crackers, with the same flavor principles of sweet and salty.

No fancy ingredient here!
These crackers were probably second only to shiso katsuo ninniku as my favorite food growing up, followed closely by saki ika. My grandmother always kept a delicious mix in jars in the kitchen, and nothing was better than her doling out a handful after school. Her mix had a great mix of sweet and spicy, with wasabi peas and nori peanuts mixed in with the crackers. The crackers themselves were little flavor bombs: some wrapped in nori, some covered in sugar and ginger, and some spicy and shaped like a persimmon seed.

I, being seriously special in a lot of ways, could never say "arare" very well, so I called them mochi crackers or rice crackers. I still have trouble saying it. And "birthday."

Just because I can't always say it, doesn't mean I have trouble eating it!

Hurricane Popcorn

1 bag of popcorn (any plain buttered variety)
1/4 cup nori gomi furikake
2-4 tbs butter
shoyu to taste (just a dash)
1-2 cups of kakimochi

Dig In!
Pop the popcorn. My only tips for this is don't browse the internet and dear god don't go on youtube. You will burn it. Take the butter and melt in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds, then mix in shoyu.  Place popcorn in a large bag (like a roasting bag) and slowly drizzle the butter while shaking to distribute the butter evenly.  Shake in the furikake. Alternatively you can stir in the butter mixture and furikake into the popcorn in a large bowl or roasting pan if you don't have a bag to shake it with. Pour into a serving bowl and fold in the kakimochi.

See Also:
Furikake Chex Mix
Shiso Katsuo Ninniku


  1. this sounds so savory, salty, yummy. can't wait to try it!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This looks delicious. I'll have to try it. I'm a sansei mom from SoCal raising a Hapa kid in PA. Glad to find your blog.