Furikake (Japanese Condiment): Attention Crazy Spicers!

From a trip to Japan a friend gave me a mystery jar of some sort of flavoring. It turned out to be wasabi-flavored furikake. Furikake is used to season rice, I learned. It vaguely resembles salt and pepper but is far more complex and powerful. A version I bought has 25 ingredients, including sesame, wheat flour, lactose, salt, MSG, salmon, fish bone powder, and soybean protein. I use it many ways: on roast beef, eggs, and yogurt, for example. It is the easiest way I know to make hamburgers taste good.

The nearest Japanese market (in Berkeley) has 25 different types, I discovered. They cost about $4 each. I bought four. I’m going to buy ten more, to use for crazy spicing (randomly varying the smell of food to prevent strong smell-calorie associations from forming).

4 Responses to “Furikake (Japanese Condiment): Attention Crazy Spicers!”

  1. B.B. Says:

    I am surprised that you accept a seasoning that has MSG.

    Russell Blaylock wrote a book called Excitotoxins that condemned MSG and aspartame, among other chemicals, for harming the brain and leading to disease. I have heard from therapists that many of the kids they treat for ADD get better when MSG and aspartame are removed from their diets.

    Do you have a view on whether MSG is harmless?

    Seth: MSG gave a friend of mine nightmares. It isn’t harmless. At least in the doses I eat it, it doesn’t give me nightmares, however.

  2. Alex Chernavsky Says:

    Seth, can you describe your current crazy-spicing regimen? I’m looking for ways to improve upon the effectiveness of Shangri-La dieting (in order to produce further weight loss).

    Seth: I do little with crazy spicing. What about eating more food nose-clipped?

  3. Janet Says:

    I used Furikake for about 10 years, but I stopped when I found that the sugar-salt combination (and especially if there was MSG) in every single flavor of them made food taste more addictive, and I wanted to eat more, not less.

    Seth: You mean you wanted to eat less, not more?

  4. Richard Sprague Says:

    My family and I love furikake, which I discovered while living in Japan in the 80s and 90s. I find it easy to buy in the US, sometimes even at bigger grocery stores. (You can also order it at Amazon.)

    The brands I buy (including the one linked through Amazon) do not have MSG.

    It’s easy to make your own too: just buy some crisp Japanese seaweed (Nori), crunch it up and mix with some sugar and salt. We often eat rice just with the nori.