THE PACKAGING THO. HOW CAN I RESIST THAT.
I immediately thought of School of Rock of course. What nuggets have to do with a band, I don't know. Is this another attempt at cultural appropriation? Perhaps not! Leave it to the Japanese to connect random things together usually in an ingenious way. Also, the singer says "Crispy" while the drummer says "Crunchy." THAT IS TOO CUTE. GAHHH I'm sold.
This description is a head scratcher. Crispy and crunchy mochi rice nuggets, okay - wait a minute. Isn't mochi chewy? How in the world do you turn chewy glutinous rice into a crispy crunchy snack?
The day I got these, the cashiers had all tried it the day before and were raving. And it's a legit Japanese snack, but it's not labeled "Trader Joe-San." Interesting.
I did not expect them to look like this. Old crumbled cheese? Toffee bits? Dried out playdoh pieces? I was expecting something a little more uniform and structured. But LET NOT APPEARANCES DECEIVE YOU. THESE WERE DELICIOUS.
It's savory for sure and ever-so-slightly salted. A claims these taste like Bugles, which I completely disagree with because Bugles are corn-based while these are rice-based. Totally different. It does have a familiar taste though, perhaps that slight greasiness that is Bugle-esque so I'll concede to that point. They are like firm pillows, dense but airy. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but that's the only way to explain the texture. While these nuggets are indeed crispy and crunchy, they have a slight chew at the end of each bite. I guess that's where the glutinous part comes in. A says these nuggets are too big and too much work to eat. I wouldn't feed these to small children or people lacking good dentition. But as for me? I like the size just as is - it's good if you enjoy conquering your food.
True to a lot of Japanese things - I can try my best to give an accurate description, but it will likely be puzzling to someone who doesn't know what I'm talking about. But once you try it, the lightbulb will turn on and you'll get what I mean. These nuggets are legitimate, and I would expect to find something similar at Mitsuwa or other asian supermarkets that carry Japanese snacks. These are the snacks that I would bring back from Japan for friends and family. $2.99 for 6.35 oz is pretty reasonable for these cuties. Pick this seasonal snack up before it's gone!
*edit: Alternatively, if you're feeling up to the task, you can attempt to make them yourself.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Presents Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets. A must-try, glutinous rice crispy crunchy enigma. 8 out of 10.